Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
The Story Behind the Name:
Pigeon Pose – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Eh-kah PAH-dah rah-JAH-cop-oh-TAHS-ah-nah) is a hip opener forward bend stretch and backbend to stretch the outer hip of the front leg, the hip flexors of the back leg.
There are three primary versions of Pigeon Pose, each building upon the one before.
This version is the first stage and it is the one you will commonly practice in yoga class.
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Sanskrit name translates to the king pigeon or one-legged pigeon pose.
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana comes from five Sanskrit words:
- Eka = one
- Pada = foot, or leg
- Raja = king, or royal
- Kapota = pigeon, or dove
- Asana = pose
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – Pigeon pose opens the hips and chest, facilitates deeper breathing, opens the heart center and also stimulates the nervous and reproductive systems.
Technical details and how to start:
- From all fours, bring your left leg forward towards your right wrist.
- Your left ankle will be somewhere in front of your right hip.
- Slide your right leg back and point your toes, your heel pointing up to the ceiling as in the picture.
- Try to keep your hips level. If required, use a support under your right buttock.
- As you inhale, rise through your fingertips, lengthen your spine, draw your navel in and open your chest.
- As you exhale, walk your hands forward and lower your upper body towards the floor. You can rest your forearms and forehead on the mat.
- Stay for five breaths or longer.
- On each exhalation, try to release the tension in your left hip.
- To come out of the pose, push back through the hands, lift your hips and move your leg back so you are on all fours.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Opens the hip joint.
- Lengthens the hip flexor.
- Stretches the thighs.
- Extends the groin and psoas.
- Helps with urinary disorders.
- Stimulates the internal organs.
- Improves posture, alignment and overall suppleness.
- Helps lower back pain and stiffness.
- Your hips are squared.
- If the hip of the leg that is bent in front of you doesn’t touch the floor, use blankets or a block to put it under.
- If your forehead doesn’t touch the mat rest your forehead on your hands, or use a cushion, or stay up higher, resting on your elbows or hands.
- Avoid this pose if you have any back, knee, or hip injury or inflammation.
- If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
People who decide to start practising Yoga and who are suffering from any cardiac problem, asthma, back pain, high blood pressure, neck, shoulder or spine injury or any other health related issue, should consult a doctor before starting any yogic activities and eliminate the positions that are not suitable for their particular case. Also, some particular asanas such as inversion asanas are not recommended for female practitioners who are menstruating.