There is nothing quite like the feeling of the simultaneous deep backbend and hip opening received in this shape. One-Legged King Pigeon Pose, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana can be found in almost any style of yoga class whether taught more actively in a vinyasa based flow class or for a deep stretch in a yin or relaxation class.
Stretches the chest abdomonals, hip flexors, quads, groin and glutes. May lessen or alleviate sciatic or lower back pain.
- Start in downward facing dog, with hands slightly wider than the shoulders
- Lift the right leg up to the sky and bend at the right knee.
- Shift forward to release the shin toward the front edge of the mat. Right knee behind right wrist, right ankle behind left wrist, shin on an angle.
- Release the back left knee to the mat. With toes tucked, shift the knee slightly further back so the leg is extended long.
- Back toes tucked or untucked.
- Walk the hands back toward the hips so shoulders stack above hips and hands are on either side of the front leg.
- Pull the front hip back and back hip forward and press the tips of the shoulder blades into the back of the heart.
- Hold and breathe evenly for 5-10 breaths.
- To release, plant the palms, tuck the back toes stepping back to Downward Facing Dog, Adho Mukha Svanasana. Repeat on the other side.
To modify this pose place a folded blanket, block or bolster beneath the hip of the front bent leg. If there is sensation within the knee joint try adjusting the angle of the shin or flip on to your back for a figure 4 stretch (check out our blog post on how to.) Once comfortable play around with other variations including binding the back foot and/or releasing the torso forward over the front thigh.