Working Towards Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana): Everything You Need To Know

One-Legged King Pigeon Pose, otherwise known as Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, is a more advanced version of the base asana, Kapotasana, otherwise known as Pigeon Pose.

Working Towards Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

The term “Eke” translates to one, while “Pada” translates to leg. Likewise, “Raja” means king, and “Kapota” means dove (or pigeon). Lastly, “asana” means pose”. Thus, you have King Pigeon Pose.

Even though it is one of the more challenging poses, it has multiple benefits when performed correctly.

In addition to this, it is also known as the king of hip openers. This extremely beneficial pose can help open your groin and pelvis.

In particular, if you feel stiffness in your hips, then the one-legged king pigeon pose can increase your flexibility and helps you overcome any tightness in the area.

In addition to having hip opening advantages, it is also a preparatory posture when it comes to Hanumanasana.

That said, before attempting the pose, you’ll want to make sure your thighs and hips are properly warmed up. Not only does this prevent injuries but allows you to get deeper in the pose, too.

You may even be able to master it completely. Some warm-ups include Cat and Cow, Pawanmuktasana Series 1, Janu Shirshasana, and Paschimottanasana.

With this in mind, this guide will explore everything you need to know about mastering the king pigeon pose.

Let’s get started.

King Pigeon Pose Fundamentals

In this advanced yoga asana, you can challenge yourself to expand and release. It is a combination of two different poses – both are designed to bend your back and open your hips.

The king pigeon pose will improve your range of motion in your hips while improving flexibility at the same time. This may allow you to hold seated poses longer in breathwork and meditation sessions.

Since you’re opening your chest in the pose, the result is deeper breathing, an increase of energy, and helps you to build a healthier posture.

While this pose is powerful, it can be incredibly difficult, too. Therefore, you should only attempt it if you already have some experience in yoga and can hold backbends such as Camel Pose or less intense hip openers such as Seated Pigeon Pose.

The pose became popular among two students of world-renowned yoga practitioners Kirshnamacharya – BKS Iyengar, the founder of Iyengar yoga, as well as Patthabi Joi, the founder of Ashtanga yoga.

If you’re practicing any of these types of yoga, then you can expect to have the opportunity to explore the picture and move with a sequence that incorporates it.

Despite how graceful the pose may look, it can also be dangerous if performed without establishing the right foundation and having enough flexibility.

Likewise, you’ll only want to perform the pose once you have properly warmed up – making it an ideal pose to do at the end of a class.

For instance, it can be used as a “peak pose” once you have finished a sun salutations sequence or after less intense chest and hip opening poses.

It is not only for physical reasons that you’ll need some experience in yoga and self-work for this pose either. Since King Pigeon Pose opens both your hips and heart, it may bring some emotions out.

Therefore, it would be beneficial to understand how to cope with this emotional release and vulnerability to make the pose more rewarding.

The best piece of advice we can give you is to have faith in yourself, you’ll know when you’re ready both mentally and physically to perform this pose.

When performed at the right moment – with awareness and humility – this pose can be a powerful healing tool to help increase confidence, flexibility, and self-love.

How To Perform The One-Legged King Pigeon Pose?

Step One

To begin with, you’ll want to start by sitting on your mat with both of your legs stretched out in front of you in Dandasana, or Staff Pose.

Then bend your right knee and grab your ankle on the same leg. Here, pull your right ankle into your body until your right heel is in contact with your left groin.

The result is your right knee and outer right skin resting on the floor.

Once you have achieved this posture, you can now bend your left knee and pull your leg so it is behind you – extending your leg so it lies straight on the ground.

Here, your left knee, the top of your left thigh, and your left foot should all be pressed down into the yoga mat.

Step Two

Allow the front of your left thigh to push deeper into your yoga mat. Here, your right buttock should also be pressed down into the mat as far as comfortable, too.

You can check the position of your right heel to make sure it is sitting in front of your left hip. Likewise, look behind you to access the positioning of your left leg that is extended away.

To make sure you’re in the right position, the back of your left leg should be in line with your left hip. Your left leg shouldn’t be turning in any other direction.

Now you can press your tailbone further into the ground to help balance and stabilize yourself.

If it is comfortable, you can bend forward slightly to help further loosen your hips and stay in this position for a couple of minutes.

Step Three

Step Three

To create more length in your back, continue to press your tailbone down and bend slightly forward. Here, you’ll want to make sure you’re evenly balancing your weight between your right sitting bone and the left front of your thigh.

If you’re already finding this pose challenging, you can choose to stay in this pose without advancing further.

You can try to sit up as far as you’re able to with your torso positioned fairly upright and by keeping your hands on the floor by your sides for enhanced stability and support.

Step Four

Once you have developed your skills, you should have enough strength to remain in this position without keeping your hands on the floor beside you.

Here, you can lift your sternum to make your torso straighter and perpendicular to the floor. Then lift your hands from the ground and place your palms onto your waist.

Push your chest forward to help stretch your neck so you’re looking behind yourself, balance here for a couple of breaths.

Bend your elbows while keeping your hands on your waist to deepen the stretch by rolling your shoulders out and back.

Step Five

You can remain in this position for a minute or two longer to deepen your chest stretch.

After repeating this pose a couple of times, you can then go deeper into the pose by bending your back leg up and catching your foot with your hands – don’t worry if you don’t get it the first time, it takes practice!

To come out of this pose, you can either slide the back leg back into the forward position or simply roll your hips so they meet the side of your bent knee.

For example, if you have your right knee bent, then you can roll to the side to bring the left leg forward. Then repeat this pose on the other side.

King Pigeon Pose Benefits

  • It helps to open and stretch your shoulders, neck, chest, and hips, improving your range of motion and releasing tension with consistent practice.
  • Strengthens the back and the abdominal muscles.
  • Over time, the combination of lengthening and strengthening your back may improve your posture.
  • Since it massages abdominal organs, it may aid in detoxification and improve digestion. Plus, the expansion of the lungs also stimulates the lungs, improving function and breathing.
  • It may help to fight fatigue and increase energy since it activates the central nervous system and boosts blood circulation.

Final Thoughts

One challenging yet beneficial pose is the King Pigeon Pose, essentially, this is a more advanced version of the Pigeon Pose.

Therefore, if you’re a beginner and don’t have much yoga experience, you may want to stay with the regular Pigeon Pose before moving on to the more advanced version.

Hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about working towards your King Pigeon Pose.

Laura Simmons
Latest posts by Laura Simmons (see all)