Rajkapotasana, so called Pigeon pose is always in the top list of many practitioners. This might feel like a difficult posture in the beginning but with some preparatory practice, one can reach one’s final destination in no time.
So here we go with one of such preparatory postures called Ek Pada Rajkapotasana or One Legged Royal Pigeon Pose.
- Assume Adhomukhasvanasana
- Press your heels firmly on the floor
- Shift your attention to the mid part of your left heel and push it further onto the ground; your legs are straight and firm at the same time
- Pressing right foot on the floor, begin to slide it out so that the right heel goes off the floor followed by the mid foot and finally the toes
- Inhale and raise your right leg up as far as possible towards the ceiling
- In the process of the above movement, it is natural for the left heel to get off the floor; exhale and push the left heel down to keep it firmly on the floor
- Bring your right leg in front and fold it, in such a way, that it is in between your palms and your pelvis. The shin is facing the heel of the palms and the calf is facing the pelvis.
- The area from right ankle to the right knee is most probably on the floor; right thigh slightly off the floor; left heel off the floor and left toes and the mounts fixed on the floor
- Lengthen your left leg slightly by sliding it out at the back
- Oscillate backward and forward by moving your body weight as such; this will open up and release tension from your groin region as well as your hips
- Allow your hips to collapse down and settle on the floor
- The outer side of the right thigh, right hip, frontal part of your left thigh and the frontal part of your left foot should be on the floor
- Mentally slide your right hip (front hip) in front and the left hip (back hip) at the back to create more space in between the right hip and the left inner thigh region
- Push your hip bones down on the floor as much as possible, roll your spine at the back; look up at the ceiling and then slowly stretch your upper back to create a curvature and look at the back; your palms are by the side of your hips; hold for 20-30 seconds and then bend forward to rest your chest on the floor.
Flexion, Extension, Adductor, Abductor
The beauty of the posture is that both the legs are performing opposing actions to get maximum benefits. Front leg is doing the job of hip flexion and adduction. Placing the front leg at a 90o angle intensifies the hip opening process. Your external rotators and piriformis joints are also involved in this stretch.
The intensification in the glutes creates more space in the gluteal muscles thereby not only making it flexible but at the same time, helping in stabilizing and activating the glutes which are rendered passive due to our current lifestyle.
You can actually feel your arms, shoulder blades and latissimus dorsi in action during this posture.
This posture should be called a multifaceted posture as it combines multiple muscles with multiple movements and thereby brings multiple benefits to the practitioner. From an athlete to a desk bound living, few rounds of this practice can have a profound impact not only on increasing blood circulation in each parts of the body but also at the same time, on releasing stiffness from most tightest areas of your limbs and back.
This preparatory posture for Rajkapotasana is also a preparatory posture for many other advance yoga postures such as Padmasana, Baddhakonasana etc. You can check other such preparatory postures for these specific areas on www.shammisyogalya.com
Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.