Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana)

Pigeon pose or Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana, as it’s called in Sanskrit, is a well-loved yoga posture known to soothe aching hips.

It is performed in both vinyasa and yin practices. The Sanskrit term translates to “one legged half king pigeon pose” which refers to the single knee bent in front.

This pose, however, can be challenging for the knees and is best avoided if one has knee injuries. There are also specific alignment tips to be aware to keep this posture safe.

The pose will stretch both the outer hip and inner groin.

How to Do Pigeon Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

From Downward Dog, lift your right leg into the air.

Step 2

Swing the right knee toward the right elbow, then drop the knee down toward the right wrist, so that it is angled to the right front corner of your mat (hip is externally rotated).

Step 3

Line up the back leg so that it points straight behind your left hip.

Step 4

Bring your hands by your hips and adjust your hips so that they point straight forward- no leaning into the right hip.

Step 5

Adjust the shin of the right leg either further inward for support or pressing the knee further outward to move the shin more parallel to the front edge of your mat (make sure there is no pressure in the knee joint).

Pigeon Pose Benefits

  • Opens the groin and outer hip muscles
  • Alleviates sciatica and piriformis syndrome
  • Relieves stress and stored negative emotions
  • Prepares the body for backbending and other hip openers such as Full Lotus Pose