- Dec 2, 2011
Kapotasana - the Pigeon pose
A complete backbend, the kapotasana or the King Pigeon pose is one which is slightly difficult to master. Though it appears to be easier than some of the other advanced poses, inversions, and backbends, the king pigeon pose requires a lot of practice before you can perfect it and perform it with ease.
- Keep yourself upright and kneel keeping your legs slightly apart. Keep your shoulders and head bent backwards.
- Bring your hands behind you and press at the back of your pelvis with a slight force.
- Inhale deeply and bow your head, tucking your chin into your sternum. Lean your shoulders back. While doing this, try and keep your hips in place.
- Keep your shoulder blades firm and lift your chest as high as you can. Now gradually release your head and let it tilt back.
- Bring both your hands in front of you in the Anjali mudra.
- Now slowly place your hands on the floor and bring your forehead to the floor as well.
- Take a deep breath and raise your hands, arching them backwards. Move your hips forward so that you can counterbalance this move.
- Allow your upper thighs to be perpendicular to the floor and drop back. Touch your ankles with your hands and if you can, grab your heels.
- Rest the back of your head on the soles of your feet.
- Open the front of your groin as much as possible and lift your pelvis. Now lengthen your upper spine and lower your forearms. Draw in your elbows towards each other.
- Extend your neck and place your forehead on the floor.
- Inhale deeply. Now softly exhale and press both your forearms and your shin to the floor. Hold the pose for about 30 seconds and keep breathing normally.
- Exhale and expand your chest. Now release your grip on your heels and slowly come back to the kneeling position.
- The exercise is not recommended for those suffering from insomnia, frequent migraines, and hypertension.
- If you have had a serious injury to your back or your neck, avoid performing any back bend.
- Flexes the hips and the groin
- The muscles in the chest, neck and shoulders are stretched which helps in better body posture.
- Flexes the thigh muscles and helps relieve back pain.
- The King Pigeon pose is considered ideal for women trying to conceive.
- The pose stretches your torso and strengthens the core.
- It works the deep hip flexors.
- It strengthens the lower back muscles.
- It realigns the spine and improves posture.
- It realigns the uterus and stimulates all the organs in the abdominal region as well as in the neck.
- One-Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
The below pose is also another type of Kapotasana
Lower the pelvis and stretch the left leg straight out behind, lowering the knee to the floor. If your pelvis is not resting comfortably on the floor, you may need a folded blanket or a bolster to support the right hip. Turn the toes under to draw the left leg back and further open the groin and thigh. Then flatten the foot to the floor and sink the pelvis as you walk the hands back beside the pelvis. Draw the tailbone down to align the pelvis vertically and lift up through the torso, centering the pelvis between the legs and centering the crown of the head over the pelvic floor. Draw the shoulder blades down and broaden the collarbones as you did in the cobra pose. Don't forget to breathe! This may be as far as you go in the pose. If so, repeat on the other side.
Or, to continue and deepen the backbend, bend the left knee and reach the foot toward the ceiling, keeping the thigh tracking straight back. Bring one or both hands to the ankle or foot. Hold the ankle or the foot, but in either case, press into the hand(s) as you draw the foot toward the body. This activates the thigh and foot, and opens the chest, shoulders, and upper back. Be careful to keep the pelvis and shoulders level and facing forward, and the thigh and shin square. Think about the chest opening and the toes and the crown of the head reaching toward each other behind the heart. Repeat on the other side.
Finally, for the fullest expression of the pose, grasp the foot from the outside edge and rotate the elbow out and up as you draw the foot toward the head. If you are well balanced, bring the other hand straight out in front and overhead to also grasp the foot. This version of the pose requires significant flexibility in the shoulders and upper spine, as well as in the thigh and pelvis. Repeat on the other side. Then finish with a gentle forward bend like the child’s pose to release any strain in the back.