Half Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana) One Leg Pigeon Pose, or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana,
Justification : Hip Opener
Physical Benefits : Stretches the quadriceps, groins, abdomen, chest shoulders and neck. Lengthens the hip flexors. Amplifies external rotation of the femur in the hip socket.
Stimulates abdominal organs, heart, external rotation of the hips.
Relieves lower back pain, stiffness and sciatica. Corrects postural defects. Prepares the body for backbends and the lotus position.
Therapeutic Benefits : Stimulates the reproductive organs and effective with infertility.
Limitations : Avoid if you have issues in the sacrioliac region, knee or ankle injuries, tight hips.
How To Practice : Beginning in Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Savasana), raise your right leg behind you and bring it forward between the hands. Bend your leg bringing the right foot towards the pubic bone, angling the right tibia under the torso and the right knee just under the right shoulder and behind your left hand. For a more intense stretch try pulling the right foot and tibia parallet to the collar bones, perpendicular to the sides of your mat. Keep the right foot flexed to protect your knee.If you’re just starting this practice, bend the front knee as much as you need to. Extend the left leg back, rolling the thigh inwards as you straighten it, keeping the foot in line with the tibia and the toes in line with the foot and the tops of the toes firmly pressed into the mat. Now gently lower the right hip towards the floor maintaining as much as possible the proper alignement in the hips. You may need a brick or a blanket to place under the right buttock or thigh to justify the alignment in the hips. You will most likely experience some resistance at this point in the hips and thighs, especially if they are tight. Use the breath to comb this resistance out gently and slowly. After 5 deep breaths, lower yourself down onto your forearms and try to lengthen the two sides of the waist and lengthen the spine for 5 more breaths. If you have the flexibilty, slowly extend your arms out fully resting your forehead on the mat, lift up through the abdominals and let the torso fold onto the right thigh, again making sure that both of the hips are level and aligned. Give it 5-10 more deep breaths, breathing through the nostrils.
To come out of the pose, push up and back into Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Savasana), pulling the right leg back to join the left on the exhale. Repeat on the other side.
Tips : Make sure the back leg is extended and completely in line. Go slowly with this pose and don’t force anything ; especially in the hips and knees. It is important to use the breath to go deeper into this posture. We tend to store alot of built-up emotional garbage in the psoas and hips so breathe to help release it. With regular practice this posture comes relatively fast- you’ll be pleasantly surprised !