Modification 1: The Z-Sit
This is not technically Pigeon, but it’s a super option for people, who are extremely restricted and uncomfortable in the traditional pose. If your hips are hovering a foot above the ground in the regular version and there’s pain where there shouldn’t be, try this instead. Sitting comfortably, bring the front (left in the photo) knee as close to 90 degrees as your body allows. Find the amount of external rotation you’re comfortable with. If your foot inches closer to the groin, that’s OK too. For the full pose, you would extend the right leg all the way back. Here, simply open the right leg to 90 degrees behind you. This allows some opening in the hips (similar to Pigeon) but without the wobbly balancing act or pressure in the front knee.
In your Z-Sit, you can stay upright or lean forward. Begin to press the back hip (the one with the leg behind) forward to stretch the front of it and continue to externally rotate the front hip open. As you get more comfortable here, you can work on straightening the back leg and squaring the hips toward the top of your mat.
See also 9 Poses Your Hips Need Now