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Pigeon Pose

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana


Pigeon Pose is the quintessential hip opening posture that stretches your entire pelvic and thigh area.

Step By Step

  1. From Downward Facing Dog, bend your right knee, and bring it forward to the floor in front of your right wrist. Angle your right knee slightly to the right, and place the outside of your right shin to the floor. Pull your right foot inward slightly so that your right heal is just in front of your left hip. Engage your right foot and press the outer edge of your foot into the floor to help protect your knee.
  2. Slide your left leg back while keeping your hips level with one another. Avoid rolling all of your weight onto the outside of your right hip.
  3. For Half Pigeon Pose, fold directly forward and rest your forearms on the floor, or lower your forehead to the floor and stretch your arms forward.
  4. For full Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One Legged King Pigeon Pose), begin to lengthen your spine and lift your chest. Bend your left knee. Reach your right arm straight up and extend your spine into a deep backbend, eventually looking straight up toward the ceiling with your head back. Avoid crunching your neck. Bend your right elbow and take hold of your left foot. Reach your left hand over your head and behind you to grab the outside of your left foot.
Pose Name

Other Names

  • Half Pigeon Pose/Sleeping Pigeon Pose - practiced by forward bending over your bent knee

Benefits

  • Half Pigeon:
  • Stretches hip flexor, groin, gluteal, thigh and back muscles
  • Improves hip mobility and prepares the body for deeper hip opening postures such as Lotus Pose
  • Calms the nervous system
  • One Legged King Pigeon Pose:
  • Stretches hip flexor, thigh, groin, chest, abdominal, throat, and tricep muscles
  • Strengthens back and gluteal muscles
  • Improves hip mobility
  • Invigorates and warms the body

Contraindications

  • Knee injury
  • Hip injury
  • Low back injury

Modifications

  • If you have a knee injury, you can practice a Supine Figure Four Posture instead, to achieve a similar hip opening. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-distance apart. Next, cross your right ankle in front of your left thigh and flex your right foot. Pull your left knee in towards your chest and thread your right hand through the triangle between your two legs, and take hold of your left shin or hamstring. Bring your left hand around to grip your right hand
  • For Full Pigeon pose, you can use a strap or belt around your back foot to bridge the gap between your hands and foot

Chakras

Half Pigeon balances the Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana), which is associated with intimacy, creativity, and sexuality. Practicing Half Pigeon can help the practitioner experience more pleasure, connectivity, and passion. One Legged King Pigeon Pose balances the Heart Chakra (Anahata) and can help the practitioner feel more joyful, compassionate, and loving.