Rishin Paonaskar guides us through Double Pigeon (agnisthambasana) variation with lateral body stretch. 

Benefits of Double Pigeon

  • Lengthens abdominal muscles.
  • Creates mobility in the spine by lengthening the Quadratus Lomuborum muscles either side of the spine.
  • Helps with external rotation of hips.
  • Stretches the intercostal muscles which creates more mobility for the rib cage. This improves lung capacity and makes breathing easier.

Common Mistakes

  • Arm going across the body rather than over (which doesn’t create length in the intercostal muscles).
  • Placement of the upper ankle is important. Often, I see the upper ankle being placed on the lower calf, which can put strain on both the ankle and the knee. This can be rectified by placing the upper ankle just past the lower knee.
  • Sickling of ankles is a common mistake and can create undesirable torque at the knee joint, but flexing the ankles can bring more stability to the joints.


  • Sitting against a wall can help maintain length in the spine and bring a bit more awareness to the back of the body.
  • If the hips are tight, it can be very difficult to sit in this position comfortably. Placing a block or blanket under the top foot can make the pose more accessible.


  • I like to focus on the base, pelvis, spine and breath in this pose.
  • Initially, establish a stable connection with the base of the pelvis and the ground. Feel like you are pressing the hips into the ground and imagine the ground pushing back into you allowing you to lengthen the spine.
  • Once you feel the spine lengthening, breathe in deeply and notice the lungs and ribcage expanding to create even more length in the spine before leaning to one side.

Rishin’s schedule and retreats can be found on rishinyoga.co.uk and he also teaches online classes on yogaia.com
Photo: Elad Itzkin (yoga.itzkin.com)

Find more Man on the Mat poses here.

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