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Thursday, September 28, 2023

The right way to Do Pigeon Pose in Yoga (Kapotasana)

In almost a decade of instructing yoga, I’ve but to come across a pupil who’s lukewarm on pigeon pose. Yoga college students both love this hip opener or hate it.

Pigeon pose, or kapotasana, feels wonderful whenever you do it proper — the entrance leg externally rotates to stretch the hip, whereas the again leg affords the flexors an excellent stretch — so it’s value studying how you can safely set it up.

“Pigeon pose will not be a one-position-fits-all train,” says Stephanie Saunders, vice chairman of health programming for BODi and an authorized yoga teacher.

Kapotasana is a variation on king pigeon pose (eka pada rajakapotasana), a one-legged backbend from ashtanga yoga‘s fourth sequence (which truly offers a unique pose the identify kapotasana).

Relating to pigeon pose, yoga is filled with variations, like seated pigeon, reclined pigeon, and even flying pigeon pose.

And why do we name it pigeon pose? If you’re within the upright place of kapotasana, your chest is lifted identical to a pigeon’s. Right here’s how you can get there safely and successfully.

Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana): Step-by-Step Directions

We’ll stroll by means of each the upright and forward-bend variations of kapotasana.

Woman in Grey Holds Pose | Pigeon Pose

  • Get on all fours, along with your arms shoulder-width and knees hip-width aside.
  • Convey your proper knee ahead, inserting it on the ground behind your proper wrist.
  • Slide your proper ankle towards your left wrist, so your proper shin crosses your mat at a cushty angle.
  • Lengthen your left leg straight again and slowly decrease your hips to the ground. The highest of your left foot needs to be flat on the ground.
  • Maintain your hips degree, along with your weight evenly distributed between them (keep away from sinking into your proper hip).
  • From right here, you may both stay upright — maintaining your arms on the ground in entrance of you, your chest up, and your core engaged — or you may fold ahead, slowly strolling your arms out in entrance of you and reducing your chest to the ground.
  • Maintain the pose for five to 10 breaths, then change sides and repeat.
  • To return out of the pose, tuck your left toes beneath, press into your arms, and slowly carry your proper foot again to the beginning place.

The right way to Make Pigeon Pose Simpler

When you have tight hips or encounter discomfort in your knees or decrease again, there are many modifications you are able to do to make pigeon pose simpler.

  • Use a block or folded blanket beneath the hip of your bent leg to assist hold the load balanced between either side of the pelvis.
  • Use blocks beneath your arms when upright, or a bolster beneath your chest when folding ahead.
  • Flex the toes of your bent leg to maintain your knee supported.

The right way to Make Pigeon Pose Tougher

When you have blissful hips that love the stretch in pigeon pose, right here’s how one can go deeper.

Woman Holds King Pigeon | Pigeon Pose

  • Work the entrance shin nearer to parallel with the entrance of your mat (so long as there is no such thing as a discomfort in your knee).
  • Whereas activating your adductors (internal thighs), come onto your fingertips — or problem your steadiness by lifting your arms overhead.
  • Bend your again leg, and attain for the highest of your foot for a deeper hip flexor stretch, shoulder opener, and backbend.

Newbie Suggestions for Doing Pigeon Pose

In case you’re new to pigeon pose, begin sluggish and hearken to your physique. Make sure that your entrance knee is comfy. You must by no means really feel ache or stretching in your internal knee, hip joints or decrease again.

In case you do, come out of the pose and begin once more, specializing in externally rotating your femur within the hip socket.

Resist the urge to line up your shin with the highest of your mat. Whereas this alignment cue is taken into account “best,” Saunders says, “this will put strain on the knee, particularly if there may be any restriction within the hip joint.” So select a place in your shin that retains your knee protected.

Advantages of Pigeon Pose

Pigeon pose stretches each the hip flexors on the entrance of the thigh and pelvis (together with the psoas) and your hip rotators on the again/facet of the pelvis (together with the piriformis).

It additionally will increase vary of movement of the femur within the hip socket.

Pigeon pose helps heat up the physique for backbends or seated poses that require exterior hip rotation, like lotus pose.

It’s additionally helpful for the again. “We all know that growing flexibility within the hips and pelvis might help with sciatica and again ache,” says Saunders.


Take your apply additional with BODi’s Yoga52, a group of 52 elegantly-produced yoga courses from newbie to knowledgeable taught by 5 of the world’s main yoga instructors.

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