One Legged King Pigeon Pose or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – Sleeping Pigeon Varation
Why Practice Pigeon Pose?
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana is a wonderful pose that offers relief to people facing tension in areas around the hips, lower back, and glutes. In the first stages of practice, hip openers are often very challenging or uncomfortable. Then after making a connection with your breath, each cycle takes your body though waves of tension release with each and every exhalation. When in practice, be sure to watch where you send tension from the hips. For example, ask yourself if you are clenching your jaw? Hunching your shoulders up to your ears? or furrowing your brow. Best advice in this pose is to listen to your body and its limitations. Never push yourself to the brink of pain, instead always make an effort to release all areas of tension from your body though your breath.
Benefits of Pigeon Pose Include:
- Stretches the thighs, groins and psoas
- Releases tension in very tight muscles in your gluteus maximus, including the piriformis and TFL (tensor fascia latae)
- It massages the abdominal organs therefor stimulates digestion
- Lengthens the spine, opens shoulders and releases tension in the neck
- Relieves pain in the knee joints
- Relieves pain in the leg caused by sciatica
- The restorative version pictured above helps to relieve anxiety, stress and fatigue
Cautions of Pigeon Pose (information gathered from yogaoutlet)
Do not practice this pose if you have a recent or chronic knee, ankle, or sacroiliac injury. Women who are pregnant should not practice the restorative version of the pose; they should keep their torso upright. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
How to do the Pigeon Pose (information gathered from yogaoutlet)
- Begin in Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), or on your hands and knees in Table Pose.
- Bring your right knee between your hands, placing your right ankle near your left wrist. Extend your left leg behind you so your kneecap and the top of your foot rest on the floor.
- Press through your fingertips as you lift your torso away from your thigh. Lengthen the front of your body. Release your tailbone back toward your heels. Work on squaring your hips and the front side of your torso to the front of your mat.
- Draw down through your front-leg shin and balance your weight evenly between your right and left hips. Flex your front foot. Press down through the tops of all five toes of the back foot.
- Gaze downward softly.
- Hold for up to one minute. To release the pose, tuck your back toes, lift your back knee off the mat, and then press yourself back into Downward-Facing Dog. Repeat for the same amount of time on the other side.
*If there is a lot of sensation going on in the hips, place a block or folded blanket under the hip of the front leg
*If pain occurs in the knee joint try drawing the front heel in towards you, away from that 90 degree angle decreasing the intensity
A Restorative Version of the Pose
Keeping your spine long, slowly drape your torso over your front shin, place a block or folded blanket under your right hip and another block directly under your forehead to help release the neck. Relax your shoulder blades down your back and rest your forearms along your mat. Breathe…