Kapotasana, also known as Pigeon Pose, is a challenging pose and a deep backbend pose.
This yoga asana gives an intense stretch to the back, thighs, hips and buttocks as well as the spine and chest, and will therefore restore motion in these areas. This yoga pose in particular will improve the Lotus Pose and splits Pose, and prepare your spine for more advanced backbending poses.
|Know as:||Kapotasana, Pigeon Pose, King Pigeon Pose, Rajakapotasana|
|Total time:||30 to 60 seconds|
|Chakra:||Sahasrara Chakra, Ajna Chakra, Vishuddha Chakra, Anahata Chakra|
|Indications:||sciatica, urinary disorder|
|Contraindications:||High blood pressure or low blood pressure, serious low back or neck injury, sacroiliac problems, migraine, insomnia|
Meaning + Origin
The Kapotasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of two words — Kapota + asana:
- “Kapota” = “pigeon”
- “asana” = “pose or posture”
It is actually named after a great guru, Kapota, whose yogic achievements are described in texts such as the Mahabharata and the Kalika Purana.
When one considers Kapotasana, it looks as beautiful as a bird shaped poster. With this asana, you will get more freedom and energy in your spine and balance-mind health. It has its full benefits, and it also gives your body a good vibe.
It is necessary to incorporate this asana in your yoga practice. Kapotasana is one of the great exercises and provides excessive stretch, elasticity and flexibility to the muscles of the body, especially the torso and limbs.
Pigeon pose opens the deep abdomen, draws energy from the thighs and focuses it on the navel center. This energy and the heat generated in the navel center, as we hold the position and breathe diaphragmatically, cleans the stomach, heals, and revives the abdominal organs.
What are the benefits of Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)?
Kapotasana (Rajakapotasana) is a challenging backbone that benefits from proper preparation.
There are many amazing benefits of Kapotasana:
- It helps to increase elasticity in your arms, spine, thighs, calf muscles, shoulders and hands.
- It helps to stretch and strengthen the muscles and joints in your feet.
- This asana also tones the muscles of the throat and organs inside the ribeck, stomach and chest.
- Refines blood circulation in the body and improves and enhances the function of the digestive system.
- Benefits in lowering blood pressure and reduces the effect of chronic diseases.
- Reduces sciatica and makes lungs strong.
- Activates the nervous system and also increases oxygen intake.
- Reduces stiffness in hips, back and shoulders.
- Calms the mind and body and relieves tension.
- Helps in the treatment of urinary disorders.
When to practice?
For Kapotasana, it is necessary that your bowels and stomach are completely empty, with an interval of at least four to six hours between your meals and exercise. This will give your body enough time to digest the food and spend the energy produced.
It is better to get up early in the morning and practice this asana. But if you are not a morning person, you can practice this asana in the evening.
Preparatory sequences to master in Kapotasana
- Hero Pose (Virasana)
- Reclining Hero’s Pose (Supta Virasana)
- Modified Lunge (Hanumanasana)
- A gentle backbend pose (Bhujangasana)
- Seated Spinal Twist or Lord of the Fishes Pose (Matsyendrasana)
- Bow pose (Dhanurasana)
- One-legged pigeon pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
- Wheel Pose (Chakrasana or Urdva Dhanurasana)
If you are suffering from high blood pressure, insomnia and migraine then do not practice this asana. People who have chronic problems or get hurt should consult a doctor before practicing this asana.
It is important that you listen to your body. If you feel any pain in your shoulder or lumbar spine, make sure you return immediately.
Keep in mind that people with tight hips or thighs cannot easily perform this asana.
Only when you feel pain while feeling stable, almost as if you are moving deeply into the posture, should you continue exercising. Face discomfort with great vigor and a steady breath.
How to do Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)?
- Start in Ustrasana. Inhale to lift your lower abdomen in and up and move your tailbone towards the floor to stabilize your lower back.
- Then move both hand towards the ceiling, externally rotating your shoulder and attach both hands together with your ears.
- Avoid crunching the lower back by attaching the core and maintaining length in the lower spine.
- If you are able to move without tension or pain, then breathe in to move backwards, leading with the sternum.
- Raise your shoulders, squeeze your elbows towards each other and move your head back.
- Exhaling, move your arms towards the floor. Push your feet into the floor and, using the same support through the legs you cultivated in Laghu-vajrasana, bend your knees only to reach the palms of your hands on the outside of each leg.
- Move your hands towards your knees so that the fingers align with your ankles.
- Transfer some weight to hand and move your right fingers to your heel.
- After grabbing your right heel, hold it firmly.
- Then shift your weight slightly in your right hand and use your right heel to hold the fingers of your left hand to raise your left fingers.
- Holding both legs, squeeze the elbows towards each other, and push your hips forward, keeping your hips in line with your back and your tailbone towards your knees.
- While exhaling bend your elbows and move them towards the floor.
- Keep pulling the hips forward without palpating or bringing the head to the ground.
- Try to be here for 5 breaths. To get out of the posture, move slowly and carefully.
- Inhale and bring your hands back to your hips, thumbs on your sacrum.
- Roll the spine up so that you stand on your knees. Stay with 5 breaths in child pose.
If you are a beginner, you can use the support of a wall to achieve perfection. Push your soles against the wall. Gently bend backwards, using the head to hold your hands. Then put your crown on the wall. Push your forearms against the wall. This will make the posture much easier.
Variation of Kapotasana (Advance level)
To take this asana to another level, you can use a chair. But remember to be extremely vigilant, and practice different forms of these pigeons only under expert guidance.
- Observe this pose by positioning the inverted employee on the chair.
- Then, slide your feet under the chair, and place your hands on the legs of the chair.
- Be gentle as you handle the situation and come out of it.
- If you are using a chair to perform this asana, make sure that you maintain this position for two to five minutes.
After Kapotasana, any person can take follow-up action:
- Gently spread hips, thighs and ankles.
- Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue.
- Supporting the head and torso provides relief from back and neck pain.
- Strengthens the stretch and ankles.
- Stretches the thighs, waist, and spine.
- Opens chest and shoulders.
- Stimulates the abdominal organs.
- Improves digestion and elimination.
- Improves posture.
Read more: Pasasana step-by-step instructions
- Calms your brain, helps relieve stress, and mild depression.
- Relaxes the body.
- Reduces headache, fatigue and insomnia.
- Helps reduce blood pressure.
4. Bharadvaja’s Twist:
- Stretches the spine, shoulders and hips.
- Massages the abdominal organs.
- Relieves lower back, neck pain and sciatica.
- Helps to relieve stress.
- Improves digestion.
- Especially good in the second trimester of pregnancy to strengthen the lower back.
- Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Read more: Bharadwaja’s Twist step-by-step instructions
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Written by Amit Kumar. He is a certified Yoga Instructor; Diploma in sports & exercise and nutrition; Diploma in fitness and weight loss; Diploma in Nutrition; Diploma in Nutrition, Food, Science and Menu Planning.