Love-it-hate-it pose: Pigeon/Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

One of my earliest yoga teachers always (half) jokes that he is masochist and loves putting others in pain. For him, no lesson is complete without the pigeon pose. It was the one pose than could drive a grown man to tears in his class because he loves adjusting people in that pose and over time, I found my love for it too.


Having a desk bound job, and counting running and wakeboarding as my main sports activities, tight hips, hamstrings and glutes almost come free with these activities. This pose is therefore a godsend for my tight hips because it stretches the hip rotators and the hip flexors, specifically the medius, maximus and minimus gluteals. It also helps with external rotation in the front leg and substantial internal rotation in the back leg. In my opinon, there are not that many poses that is so helpful to so many areas of the lower body at the same time and yet targets my lifestyle needs.


When I first started yoga, the gap between my butt and the floor in the pigeon pose was about two blocks high. But I’ve never used a block for the practice because he believes that it impedes the student’s progression and I think he was right. I am still not perfectly on the floor and I still can’t wrap my arms around my feet, but where I am today was way beyond what I thought I could do when I first did it. It puts me in so much pain whilst in it, but when I walk out of it, I always feel like a new person.


I love it that this pose is straightforward to get into with none of the technical terms like “squeeze your butt, point your sacrum up…”. My goal is to be able to do a king pigeon pose someday with more anatomical knowledge and adjustment techniques that I have gained during YTT.





Hui Zhi