Sorry, Pigeon Pose: the ‘Fire Log’ Gets Way Deeper Into Your Hips

Photo: Getty Images/fizkes
The world's hips are tight, you guys. Being forced to pretty much stay at home, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, means that people are spending the vast majority of their days sitting down. And that leads to a super-tight back-side. This is why the fire log pose in yoga should be treasured at a time like this.

Fire log pose, also known as ankle-to-knee pose, is a deep outer hip and glute opener, says Chloe Kernaghan, yoga pro and co-founder of New York City's Sky Ting. It involves sitting on your mat and placing one shin parallel to the floor and stacking the other leg directly on top, lining up your knees and ankles. "It gives a deep stretch and release to the piriformis and gluteus medius, among others, as well as working the top of the thigh bones into a deep external rotation at the hip," she says. (The piriformis is deep in the glute and is in charge of rotating the hips, while the gluteus medius is one of the three gluteus muscles.) "We love doing this pose regularly because it helps undo some of the grips our hips get from sitting in chairs, as well as unwinding tension that can build up in the hips from life experiences," says Kernaghan.

This is, no doubt, a stressful time, and according to Kernaghan, people tend to hold stress and emotions in the hip area (hence why pigeon pose can sometimes lead to tears). "Our hips are considered storehouses for suppressed and closeted emotions, which is why in our Sky Ting practice, we often refer to the hips as your basement," she says.

Though pigeon pose and other yoga hip openers are great, fire log pose gets even deeper into the area (it's also called double pigeon pose, BTW, so it's like an amped-up pigeon pose). "This is definitely a deep expression of the hip opening," says Kernaghan. "It's an intense experience for most people." Want to try it for yourself? Keep scrolling for Kernaghan's tips for doing it properly, along with how to modify the pose.

How to do fire log pose

1. Make an equilateral triangle between your ankles, knees, and pubic bone.

2. Find yourself on the perineum (base of your seat). "We recommend sitting up on a blanket or two so that you're not sitting back on your tail," says Kernaghan.

3. Have a strong dorsiflex of your feet to keep your knees safe in this orientation.

4. If you're taking the pose as a fold, try and keep the front of your spine long and resist letting the chest cave in.

5. For a modification, Kernaghan suggests doing a simple cross-legged seat with a forward fold, or lying on your back to do a figure-four shape with your legs.

While you're at it, here's how to do pigeon pose correctly for even more hip tightness relief:

For your practice, try incorporating these yoga stretches for flexibility. And this is how the cat-cow stretch actually opens up your entire body. 

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