One-Legged King Pigeon Pose


By YJ Editor  |  

The full pose, which is suitable for intermediate students, will be described in the Full Pose section below. First we’ll practice the leg position only, which should be accessible to most experienced beginners. (aa-KAH pah-DAH rah-JAH-cop-poh-TAHS-anna) eka = one pada = foot or leg raja = king kapota = pigeon or dove

One-Legged King Pigeon Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin on all fours, with your knees directly below your hips, and your hands slightly ahead of your shoulders. Slide your right knee forward to the back of your right wrist; at the same time angle your right shin under your torso and bring your right foot to the front of your left knee. The outside of your right shin will now rest on the floor. Slowly slide your left leg back, straightening the knee and descending the front of the thigh to the floor. Lower the outside of your right buttock to the floor. Position the right heel just in front of the left hip.

The right knee can angle slightly to the right, outside the line of the hip. Look back at your left leg. It should extend straight out of the hip (and not be angled off to the left), and rotated slightly inwardly, so its midline presses against the floor. Exhale and lay your torso down on the inner right thigh for a few breaths. Stretch your arms forward.

More Backbend Poses

Then slide your hands back toward the front shin and push your fingertips firmly to the floor. Lift your torso away from the thigh. Lengthen the lower back by pressing your tailbone down and forward; at the same time, and lift your pubis toward the navel. Roll your left hip point toward the right heel, and lengthen the left front groin.

More Hip-Opener Poses

If you can maintain the upright position of your pelvis without the support of your hands on the floor, bring your hands to the top rim of your pelvis. Push heavily down. Against this pressure, lift the lower rim of your rib cage. The back ribs should lift a little faster than the front. Without shortening the back of your neck, drop your head back. To lift your chest, push the top of your sternum (at the manubrium) straight up toward the ceiling.

Stay in this position for a minute. Then, with your hands back on the floor, carefully slide the left knee forward, then exhale and lift up and back into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose). Take a few breaths, drop the knees to all-fours on another exhalation, and repeat with the legs reversed for the same length of time.

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Pose Information
Sanskrit Name
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Pose Level
1
Contraindications and Cautions
  • Sacroiliac injury
  • Ankle injury
  • Knee injury
  • Tight hips or thighs
Modifications and Props
It's often difficult to descend the outside of the front-leg hip all the way to the floor. Place a thickly folded blanket underneath the hip for support.
Deepen the Pose
Your partner can help with the lift of the arms. Perform the pose to your capacity, whether your hands are grasping the foot or a strap. Have your partner stand behind you. He should press his hands against your outer upper arms, just above the shoulder, and lift the outer arms toward the elbows. Release your side ribs down, away from the arms. Keep the tops of your shoulders soft. The full pose, which is suitable for intermediate students, will be described in the Full Pose section below. First we'll practice the leg position only, which should be accessible to most experienced beginners.
Theraputic Applications
  • Urinary disorders
Preparatory Poses
Follow-up Poses
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana is actually the first in a series of four, increasingly difficult Pigeon poses. In each of the three successive poses, the forward leg is placed in a slightly different position. In the second variation the forward foot is standing on the floor just in front of the same-side buttock, with the knee angled well forward of the heel. In the third variation the forward leg is in Ardha Virasana, while in the fourth the leg is stretched straight forward (as in Hanumanasana or Monkey Pose) of the pelvis.
Beginner's Tip
At first many students who learn this pose aren't able to easily grasp the back foot directly with their hands. Take a strap with a buckle. Slip a small loop over the back foot—let's say the left foot is extended back—and tighten the strap around the ball of the foot. Make sure the buckle is against the sole of the foot. Perform the leg position, and lay the strap on the floor along side the left leg. Bend the left knee and grasp the strap with the left hand. Swing that arm up and over your head, then reach back with the right hand. Hold the strap in both hands, and carefully walk your hands down the strap toward the foot.
Benefits
  • Stretches the thighs, groins and psoas, abdomen, chest and shoulders, and neck
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs
  • Opens the shoulders and chest
Partnering
Your partner can help with the lift of the arms. Perform the pose to your capacity, whether your hands are grasping the foot or a strap. Have your partner stand behind you. He should press his hands against your outer upper arms, just above the shoulder, and lift the outer arms toward the elbows. Release your side ribs down, away from the arms. Keep the tops of your shoulders soft. The full pose, which is suitable for intermediate students, will be described in the Full Pose section below. First we'll practice the leg position only, which should be accessible to most experienced beginners.
Did You Know?
For the full pose, first perform the preliminary leg position. Then with your hands braced on the floor, bend the back knee and bring the foot as close to the top of your head as possible. Inhale, stretch the right arm upward; then exhale, bend the elbow, and reach back and grasp the inside of the left foot. After a few breaths, reach back with the left hand and grasp the outside of the foot. Draw the sole of the foot as close as possible to the crown of your head. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Then release the foot, lower the leg, perform step 5 to change the position of the legs and repeat on the second side for the same length of time.