The yin yoga posture of sleeping swan pose or pigeon pose creates external rotation in the front leg, and targets the quads and hip flexors. It’s also a backbend which compresses the lower back and can help maintain the health of the lower spine..
Sleeping swan pose primarily targets the Liver, Gall Bladder, spleen, Stomach, Kidney and Urinary Bladder meridians.
Begin on all fours and pull one leg out in front. You can start with your front foot close to the inner groin. If your hips are more open you can take greater external rotation in the front leg by drawing your foot up towards the front of your mat.
Yin Yoga Sleeping Swan and Yin Yoga Pigeon pose variations
If you have space under your hip use a blanket or other soft prop to support you. As you move into the posture rest your weight in your hips. Be sure there is minimal pressure on the front knee. Press into your hands to rock your weight back into your hips. If the front knee is sensitive, flex your front foot and press your ankle into the floor gently to relieve pressure.
If the pose is comfortable, lean forward and rest your head on the floor or a prop.
If you can't get into this posture you can take eye of the needle (sometimes called figure 4) instead or try pulling your front foot in closer to your groin. Eye of the needle can be done on the wall or using a strap.
To come out of the posture tuck your back toes under, inhale and pull your front leg back. Rest in child's pose after the posture as a gentle counter pose.