Pigeon Pose, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
The Pigeon Pose or Kapotasana can be done in many variations according to the different levels ability of the students. One variation is the Eka Pada Rajakapotasana which is the One-legged King Pigeon Pose and is an intense backbend yoga pose. It has to be performed after having attained a certain amount of flexibility by practicing beginning yoga poses for some weeks. To begin with the leg position can be attempted only by the most experienced beginners before going on to the advanced pose.
The Sanskrit name for the pose eka pada rajakapotasana means:
eka = one
pada = foot or leg
raja = king or royal
kapota = pigeon or dove
The One-legged Pigeon Pose or eka pada rajakapotasana is intermediate and advanced level yoga pose.
Benefits of the Pigeon Pose
This pose like other backbends has many benefits:
- massages and stimulates the kidneys
- opens the hip area and chest
- aligns the pelvis
- stretches the thighs, hip flexors and hip rotators
- increases circulation to the pelvic floor
Beginner - Pigeon Pose
Beginner and Intermediate - Pigeon Pose
How to do the Pigeon Pose – For Experienced Beginners
This pose focusing on the leg position is suitable for most experienced beginners:
- Start with 'table position' on all fours with your arms under your shoulders and knees under your hips
- you can also start with the downward dog position as well.
- Cross your left foot in front of the right knee. Slide and lengthen your right leg straight back. If the stretch is too intense, place a pillow under your left hip.
- Move the right side of your chest slightly to the left to align the hips, then lower your chest onto your left leg. Align your elbows under your shoulders.
- Stay in the comfort zone as your feel a stretch in the hip.
- Place both hands under your shoulders; press into the floor and lift the upper torso, raising your chest like a 'pigeon'. Keep your shoulders down and away from the ears.
- Make sure you do not experience any compression in your lower back.
- Releasing from the pose:
- To release come up onto your right knee or shinbone. Uncross your left leg, straighten it behind you, and shake the leg and foot a few times.
Intermediate - King Pigeon Pose
How to do the One-Legged King Pigeon Pose – Intermediate and Advanced
This pose is an intense backbend and must not be attempted by beginners. In this variation suitable for intermediate and advanced level students the full backbend is achieved:
- Do the above variation in preparation for the King Pigeon.
- Get into Pigeon Pose as above with your back upright
- Start to bring the shin of your leg which is in front more parallel with the front of the mat.
- Bend the knee of the leg that is stretched behind.
- Draw the foot into the crook of the elbow of the arm on the same side
- Reach the other arm up, and clasp your hands behind your head.
- In the more advanced version you will be able to grab your foot with both your hands and touch your head to the foot.
There are altogether three variations to the yoga Pigeon Pose or Kapotasana called:
- Rajakapotasana – King Pigeon Pose
- Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – One-legged King Pigeon Pose
- Salamba Kapotasana – Supported Pigeon Pose
Achieving the full pose is an adventure and is a good challenge to give oneself in the personal yoga practice.
Resources for Preparing for Pigeon Pose
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