One Legged King Pigeon Pose - Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

One Legged King Pigeon Pose

  • Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Eka pada raja kapotasana is an advanced level seated back bending asana. The name is derived from the Sanskrit words ‘Eka’, means one, ‘Pada’ means leg or foot,  ‘Kapota’ means dove or pigeon and ‘asana’ means posture respectively. The seated back bending helps to Open up shoulders and chest. The contracting and stretching of the muscles while performing this asana improves flexibility. This posture activates Svadisthana (spleen or sacral) chakra.


Steps to do One Legged King Pigeon Pose / Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

  • From Adhomukha Swanasana, Inhale and lift the right leg up, exhale and come to Kapotasana. 
  • Keep stretching your left leg back, place the knee and toes flat on the floor. 
  • Inhale deeply, exhale and fold the left leg. Hold the big toe with your left hand. Now rotate the elbow outwards, point the elbow towards the ceiling. Raise your right hand up and try holding the left big toe. Keep breathing while holding the pose. 
  • Now release the hands. Exhale comes back to Adhomukha Swanasana. Repeat on the other side.

Tips for beginners

  • This asana may cause a significant stretch on the outer hip. To begin with, keep your right foot near to your left hip.The more your shin is in front of the mat, the harder the hip opening will be. 
  • If your forehead doesn't reach the mat, you can use a block or make fists with your hands and stack them on top of each other to support your forehead.
  • You can also support yourself higher by resting on your elbows or hands, but avoid hunching your shoulders; instead, keep the base of your neck relaxed.

Benefits

  • It stretches your entire lower body. 
  • It massages the abdominal organs, thereby improving digestion. 
  • Strengthens the back and relieves sciatica.
  • This pose makes the hips more flexible.
  • The profound stretch calms the mind. 
  • It opens up the chest.

Watch out for

  • Pay particular attention to your knees. In case your knee is hurting,  bring the right foot underneath the right hip or even closer to the left hip if your knees are hurting.
  • In case of ankle or knee injury avoid this asana.
  • Pregnant women and people who have tight thighs, avoid  this asana

Variations

  • Resting Pigeon Pose: From the traditional kaoptasana, try to lengthen your spine by raising your hands up and bend forward towards the mat and place your head on the mat, while placing both the hands beside your head.
  • To deepen the practice of this asana,  you can try touching your head to the sole of the back foot in traditional posture.