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Deer Pose

Deer Pose

Deer pose is unique because it offers external and internal rotation of the hips. It is relatively accessible for most practitioners and the variations can keep this pose interesting for even the most advanced practitioner. I highly recommend using deer as a way to warm up the hips for deeper hip openers or as a counter pose after a hip opener.

Get into Deer Pose Step-by-Step

  1. Start sitting with your legs extended in front of you.
  2. Bend both knees. Keep your right leg in front of you and draw your left leg to your left side.
  3. Create 90-degree angles with both legs. Your right knee is directly forward of your right hip, and the left knee is to the left of your left hip.
  4. Fold forward over the front leg. Option to use a bolster under your torso and on top on your front leg.


  • Physical: Deer pose is a great counter pose for hip openers as it helps increase hip mobility through internal and external rotation. Ideal for digestion and relieving gas as it compresses the internal organs. May help with the swelling of the legs in pregnancy, but should only be practiced until the end of the second semester. Asthma and high blood pressure may benefit from this pose.
  • Energetic: Depending on the variation the Gallbladder, Kidney, Liver, Stomach, and Spleen meridians may be stimulated.
  • Emotional & Mental: Deer is a calming and grounding pose that activates the sacral and solar plexus chakras.


  • For knee injuries pad the front knee with a folded blanket, draw the heels closer to the groin, or avoid the pose altogether.


  • Twisted Deer: Twist your upper body towards your front thigh. Option to place a bolster directly out from the hip of your front leg to melt your torso onto.
Twisted deer
Deer with a bolster

Get Out of the Pose

  1. Draw your hands under your shoulders. Push into the ground to lift your upper body back up.
  2. Release from the twist, if twisted.
  3. Draw your back leg forward.
  4. Extend both legs forward.

Counter Poses

  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Windshield wipers.

How Long to Hold Deer?

  • 3-6 minutes per side.
  • Since this pose is generally a more relaxed yin pose it can be held for up to 6 minutes.

Practice Deer Pose in a Class

Back to yin yoga pose directory.

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