Kapotasana, also known as pigeon pose, is one of the backbends and hip openers from the Warrior Series. It is a great posture for finding opening in the thighs, abdomen, shoulders, heart center, and particularly the hips. Many of us store our emotions in our hips, and when practicing kapotasana at length it is not uncommon to experience release in the form of emotional tears.
In practicing kapotasana, may we encourage deeper opening and letting go so that we can find a little more space for connecting with ourselves and everything around us.
1. Begin on all fours, with your knees directly below your hips, and your hands directly under your shoulders.
2. Breathe in, tuck your toes under, and lift your hips up towards the sky into Adho Mukha Svanasana, aka Downward Facing Dog.
3. On your next inbreath, lift your right heel up and back, aiming for the leg to be in line with the line of the spine.
4. Breathe out, drawing the right knee in towards the chest, and then bring the knee all the way forward, placing the knee towards the outside of the right wrist. Draw the right ankle forward as much as possible, looking for the shin to be parallel with the short side of the yoga mat. Only draw the ankle forward as much as you can. If the shin is angled, it is ok.
5. Scoot the rear leg back, while maintaining square hips (headlights pointing forward). Relax the toes. Check to make sure the rear ankle and toes are aligned with the left side of the hips.
6. Place your fingertips and or hands on the mat at your sides, using blocks if you choose.
7. Breathe in, extend energy through the crown of your head, lengthening through the back of the neck and along the spine.
8. Breathe out, draw your shoulders down and back, opening the heart space and puffing the chest forward like a pigeon!
9. Breathe deeply. Maintain the posture for 3 to 5 breaths. On an outbreath, bring the arms and torso forward, resting your forehead on the mat or on a prop. Rest.
10. To return to neutral, on an inbreath, slowly draw your torso up. Tuck the toes of the rear leg, and slowly scoot the rear knee forward. Draw the right knee back, and come back on to all fours.
11. Repeat on the left side.
• Stretches the thighs, groins and psoas, abdomen, chest and shoulders, and neck
• Stimulates the abdominal organs
• Opens the shoulders and chest
Contraindications and Cautions
• Sacroiliac injury
• Ankle injury
• Knee injury
• Tight hips or thighs