How to do Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pidgeon Pose)
Full Eka Pada Rajakapotasana is an advance level extreme back bending asana suitable for experienced practitioners only. This asana is very powerful hip opener and helps to increase the flexibility of the hips. Eka means one, pada means leg, and kapota means pigeon. In this asana, back leg is extended at the maximum stretch to open hips.
There are two variations of this pose, half and full. You have to start with the half pose to tone and prepare your body for the full pose which is an advance pose. In the full pose you touch your back toes to your head. It is one of the intense backend asana.
Even, this version could also seem to be easy, but it requires a level of body flexibility.
Steps to do Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
First come into the adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog pose). Bring your right knee forward just behind your right wrist. Now, bend your right knee flat on the ground in such a way that right knee is touching the right hand wrist and toes are touching the left hand.
Let your lower back slip back on the floor with ankle sliding on the floor. Press your fingertips on the floor; lift your torso up and away from your thigh. Lengthen the front of your body. Gaze downward.
Hold the pose as long as you are comfortable and then release the pose. Stay in this pose for a minute or so.
Release the pose with the support of the hands on the floor, bring the left knee forward, take the right knee in the previous position, exhale and come back into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose). Repeat with the legs reversed.
You can place the folded blanket under the hip of the folded leg to maintain the level and minimize the stretching.
Body has to be flexible enough to practice full pigeon pose, real challenge is to clasp the back foot with the top arm. However, there is a technique involved to perform this radical posture.
Sit in the half pigeon pose, angle out the back foot a little to make the room, bend your knees to raise the half leg up. Swing your arm back and try to clasp the top of your back foot if you can. Your hand may slip off trying to hold the foot, keep trying.
Once held, press your head back towards your foot as much as you can, pull your foot close to shoulder as much as possible. Once you are comfortable in this pose, use another arm to hold your foot tight. You can also use the other arm to keep it on the ground for balance if need be.
Best way to start practising this pose is to use a yoga belt or any soft rope. Make a loop in a yoga belt to buckle the foot, pull the rope to reach to the leg.
- Stretch the thighs, groins, and abdomen.
- Relieve tension in the chest and shoulders.
- Regulate digestion.
Person with any kind of leg area or knee area injury should not practice it.