Iyengar 101: King Pigeon Pose 3 Ways

King Pigeon Pose is about balancing stability and fluidity, in both your body and mind. Grab a strap, folding chair, and blanket and let’s get started!
carrie owerko king pigeon pose

Senior Intermediate Iyengar teacher Carrie Owerko knows how to find the surprisingly fun angles and elements of Iyengar Yoga. Owerko has partnered with Yoga Journal to bring you a six-week interactive online course in which she’ll share playful ways to use props and apply Iyengar principles and wisdom to your practice and life off the mat. Sign up now for a creative journey that will profoundly deepen and transform your approach to yoga and perspective on BKS Iyengar’s unique method.

King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) is one of those wonderfully challenging postures that requires both stability and mobility—easier said than done. Most yoga poses ask of us the same, but this one is particularly demanding. It requires you to remain aware, secure, and fluid, all at once, in order to avoid injury. Let’s call it “stable fluidity.” If you aren’t stable in your legs and core, you’ll topple over; if you aren’t fluid in your hips and spine, you risk forcing the pose and hurting yourself.

King Pigeon Pose is about balancing these two extremes, in both your body and mind. And these three creative, Iyengar-inspired variations can help you access the pose and its benefits, or move deeper into the stretch.

Learn to pause along the way as you explore the process of the pose. Pause, reflect, and observe your senses of perception. Are your eyes, tongue, and skin soft and relaxed? Don’t move on to the next stage until they are. It’s OK if that takes days, weeks, months… Remember: Yoga is at its heart a practice of waking up and being fully present and aware to what is arising.

"On this path of yoga, no effort is ever wasted, and there is no failure. Even the smallest effort toward awareness will protect you from the greatest fear." —Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, verse 40

OK, grab a strap, folding chair, and blanket and let’s get started!

Note: Be sure to warm up properly. First practice poses that elongate your hip flexors as well as those that increase the range of motion in your shoulders and upper back. Include some one-legged standing asanas to bring stability to your hip and pelvic regions, as well as some preparatory backbends such as Cobra (Bhujangasana), Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), and Upward Bow Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana), to warm up the spine.

About Our Expert
Carrie Owerko is a Senior Intermediate Iyengar teacher based in New York City. She continues her studies with the Iyengar family by traveling to India on a regular basis, as well as by continuous in-depth studies with her yoga teacher, Patricia Walden. Before studying yoga, Carrie earned a BFA in dance and theater and became a Certified Movement Analyst. Curiosity, openness, and affection are of utmost importance in her approach to Iyengar Yoga, as is the integration of science, yoga philosophy, and poetic imagination. Most importantly, she loves to explore the relationship of discipline and playfulness and is a firm believer in the power of controlled folly. Learn more at carrieowerko.com