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Essential Sequence: Pigeon + Chaturanga = Eka Pada Galavasana



Eka Pada Galavasana is not an easy posture, but it’s a simple posture. If you take a step back and look at the pose, you’ll see it’s a combination of Pigeon Pose and Chaturanga Dandasana. Even more precisely, it’s Pigeon Pose on top of Chaturanga. This means that there’s no mystery when it comes to sequencing for Eka Pada Galavasana: Your job is to prepare yourself (or your students) for a solid, skillful Chaturanga and a spacious, supple Pigeon Pose. The sequence above does this by focusing on core strength, upper body strength, and outer hip flexibility. Here’s a detailed look at the method behind the sequence:

POSES 1 & 2

If you’ve practiced with me live, on yogaglo, or with these sequencing illustrations, you’ve probably figured out that I start a ton of sequences on my back. This is a reflection of my personal practice which almost invariably commences with me laying on the floor—especially if I know that I’m going to work hard later in the sequence. It’s an incredibly effective, low energy way to create mobility in the hips, hamstrings, and spine. The first two postures provide good bang for your buck. They require very little effort and they produce a fair amount of leverage to start chipping away at hip tension.

POSES 3 – 5

Not everything you practice on your back is effortless. This combination of reclined arm balances will wake up your core, get your blood moving, and heat your body in very little time.

POSES 6 & 7

Now that your body is a little warmer after your reclined arm balances, it’s time to dig into your hips a little deeper. Postures 6 and 7 will help warm up your body for the even deeper outer hip openers that directly precede Eka Pada Galavasana.


I wrote earlier that Eka Pada Galavasana was a combination of Pigeon and Chaturanga. I’m sticking with this assessment, but there’s an important nuance that postures 8 & 9 address. Neither Pigeon nor Chaturanga require significant engagement of your hamstrings or spinal muscles, but, Eka Pada Galavasana does. Your hamstrings and spinal muscles help elevate your back leg in Eka Pada Galavasana–this isn’t required in Pigeon or Chaturanga. Postures 8 & 9 help integrate these muscles into your overall body awareness so that you’re ready to use them in the upcoming arm balance.

POSTURES 10 – 13

This is a straightforward progression of deeper and deeper outer hip openers that culminates in Eka Pada Galavasana. If you struggle to get your shin on top of your elbows and place your hands on the floor, your hips may be too tight for the pose. If this is the case, practice the hip openers in this sequence more consistently. If you can get the position above, but struggle to lift your bottom foot and straighten your bottom leg toward the back of the mat, you may need to work on core, upper-body, and spinal strength. Good luck!

Want to practice this sequence at home? If you sign up for our newsletter, we’ll send you free printer-friendly PDF of the sequence above!

AND, if you want to feel more confident and knowledgeable about your sequencing skills, check out my e-course, The Art of Yoga Sequencing. It’s great for yoga teachers and students who want to better understand how the body works and how to stretch and strengthen effectively.

{illustrations by MCKIBILLO}

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