Yoga pose: One-legged pigeon pose

One-legged pigeon pose
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
eka = one
pada = foot
raja = king
kapota = pigeon (or dove)

Benefits: Pigeon pose opens the hips and chest, facilitates deeper breathing, and opens the heart center. This posture stimulates the nervous, endocrine and reproductive systems.

Muscles activated:
Stretches the entire front of the torso, the ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat.
• Opens your hip flexor muscles (psoas, rectus femoris, piriformis, tensor fascia latae) and your groin muscles.
• Opens your hip rotator muscles (gluteus medius & minimus).
• Strengthens the back muscles. May relieve sciatic nerve tension and ease chronic low back pain.

Chakras: Swadhisthana (abdomen)
The Swadhisthana is associated with Self Respect.
When it is in balance we are fully able to express and feel our emotions, we feel happy and confident with who we are.

Caution and Contraindications: Recent or chronic back, knee, or hip injury or inflammation.
Women who are pregnant should not practice the variations below; they should keep their torso upright.

– Tree pose/extended triangle pose to prepare the muscles for this pose.

*Adjust your one-legged pigeon pose according to the difficulty level you want. If at any point you feel low back pain in the pose, draw your lower belly in and lengthen your spine to avoid compression.
One of the best way to come into the pose is from downward facing dog.
1. From downward facing dog, inhale bring right leg up into downdog split.
2. Exhale, bend your right knee and bring it behind your right wrist. Keep your right foot flexed to help protect your knee. * You may angle the right foot towards the left hip (easier) or have the right shin parallel to the hip (advanced).
At the same time, slide your left foot to the back, straightening the left knee and pointing your left foot straight back. * It should extend straight out of the hip (and not be angled off to the left), and rotated slightly inwardly. Try to press all five toes of your back foot onto the mat.
3. Inhale, press down into the palms and lengthen your spine. Exhale, sink your hips down into the floor. *Hips should be squared towards to the front of the mat.
4. Hold for 5 breaths.
5. Go to a downward facing dog, and repeat on left side.

Getting out of the pose
1. Go to downward facing dog (counter-pose)
2. Rest your knees down, and come to an easy seated position.

Video :

– Put a yoga block under the hip of the bent knee so as to keep the hips level.
– Place yoga blocks under the hands.

– Bring torso down to a forward bend to the right leg. *You may put a yoga block under your forehead.
– Bring back feet up and grab with one/both hands. *You may use a strap to help. Draw the foot towards the butt and square your shoulders to the front. DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU HAVE HISTORY OF SHOULDER DISLOCATION.

Counter pose:
Downward facing dog (Urhva Mukha Svanasana)
Janu Sirsasana

Michelle Lee (200hr Yoga TTC 07/14 Weekend)

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