Emotions in Pigeon Pose

The mind and the body are not separate. What affects one affects the other.

–  Dr. Joe Kosterich

Over the years, I have heard many yoga teachers say that the hips are the storeroom of emotions especially anger and suppressed feelings. They say that is why strong emotions arise during deep hip opening yoga poses like Pigeon Pose, Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana. I have always wondered about the veracity of that claim. 

Anecdotally, we know that the physical body responds to emotions.  Who hasn’t felt stomach pain brought on by worry, heart palpitations from fear, or neck and shoulder pain when overwhelmed? I recall taking a particularly grueling exam where the muscles between my shoulder blades were twitching from anxiety.

Yoga philosophy suggests that yoga is the melding of mind, body, and spirit.  Consequently, in yoga what happens to the mind also happens to the body and spirit.  If something is weighing heavy on your mind or upending you spiritually, there will be a corresponding bodily reaction.  Asana, the physical practice of yoga, involves challenging the body.  It makes sense that you might have a spiritual, emotional, or mental reaction to this physical provocation. 

The second chakra, the sacral chakra, is known as the emotional epicenter and is housed in the hips.  Perhaps that explains the strong emotional reaction many have when practicing hip openers, especially Pigeon Pose. The next time you practice Pigeon Pose, instead of focusing exclusively on physical sensations, which are often intense, try to explore what feeling or emotions arise. Don’t be surprised if these feeling are intense as well.  Hopefully, afterwards you will feel an immense release.


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