Eye of the Needle Pose or Sucirandhrasana

Eye of the needle
Ben Goldstein

Type of Pose: Hip opener

Benefits: Stretches the muscles around the hips

Pigeon is the pose that always gets recommended for people with tight hips, but in some cases, it can too intense for the people that need it the most. In those cases, eye of the needle is a perfect variation. It's basically the same stretch as pigeon, but since it's done lying on your back it's much easier to control the intensity. If lying down doesn't work for you, there's also a chair version you can check out.

This pose is also a part of my recommended warm-up sequence that I do before just about every class. It's a great way to wake up the lower body and prepare it for deeper stretches to come.


  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor.
  2. Hug your left knee into your chest.
  3. Cross the left ankle over your body and rest it on the right thigh.
  4. Let the left knee relax away from your torso.
  5. Lift your right foot off the floor and thread your left hand through your legs (this is the eye of the needle) so your hands meet on the back side of your right thigh. As an alternative, clasp your hands on the front side of your right shin (as shown here). 
  6. Using your hands, draw your right thigh toward your chest. This will cause your left hip to open.
  7. Keep both feet flexed.
  8. Continue to breathe deeply and relax the left knee to open the hips.
  9. Repeat on the other side.

Beginners' Tips

  • If you have very tight hips, stop after step 4, keeping the right foot on the floor.
  • Remember to keep the right foot flexed to protect your knee.

Advanced Tips:

  • To deepen the stretch, draw the right knee closer to your chest and use your left elbow to gently nudge your left knee away from your body.
  • Lift your forehead up to meet your right knee. 
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