In my opinion PIgeon or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana is one Yoga pose that everyone should practice. It is one of my favorite poses, and I always do some variation of this pose in all the classes I teach. Pigeon is also a pose that I do after every run or bike ride. This pose helps to stretch a difficult area for most people, the IT Band, as well as allow some space and openness to be created in the hips. As a society today we spend so much time sitting, that practically everyone has some tightness in the hips. Now add all the exercise we do and our poor hips are just screaming for release. Pigeon allows that release.
Emotionally speaking, in Yoga we say that the hips are our emotional junk drawer. It’s where we hide away all those feelings we don’t want to deal with at the moment. So Pigeon allows not only a physical release but an emotional one as well. I’ve seen people begin to really let go in Pigeon in more ways than one, and some people have even cried in this pose, as they allow themselves to let go everything they are holding in.
One more note on Pigeon: you will either love or hate this pose. Some people, like me, really love the feeling of this pose. For some people it’s too much, and they can not sit still enough to allow that release. Just stay in the pose, focus on your breath, and begin to just let go both physically and emotionally. You will eventually come to love this pose as much as I do.
Yoga Pose #6 Pigeon/Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
- stretches inner and outer thighs
- eases tightness in the groin and hips
- stretches and releases psoas
- opens shoulders and chest
- stretches and lengthens spine
- You can come into Pigeon from a few ways, I’m going to walk you through coming into it from all fours/tabletop.
- Come into a tabletop position.
- Step your right foot between your hands.
- Walk you right foot over to the left side of the mat, and drop your right knee towards your right wrist.
- You want your front leg laying flat on the mat, and your shin parallel to the front of your mat.
- If you are super tight you can tuck the right/front foot more towards your left hip, basically do not force the leg to be as straight or as parallel to the front of the mat.
- Square your hips off towards the front of your mat.
- Extend the left leg long behind you, keeping the foot in line with the hip, and not letting the hips or the back leg roll out to one side.
- Bring your hands in front of the front leg, and lengthen the spine on the inhale.
- Exhale and fold over the front leg, walking your hands out in front of you.
- You can rest your head on your hands or a block, and if needed, you can slide a block under the right hip.
- Stay here for about 10-20 breaths (I like to hold Pigeon for a long time, so I usually hold for 20 breaths).
- Slowly walk your upper body back up and step back into tabletop.
- Now take Pigeon on the other side.