How To Do The Rajakapotasana And What Are Its Benefits

Written by , BA Shirin Mehdi BA Experience: 3 years

Raja Kapotasana or King Pigeon Pose is an asana. Sanskrit: राजकपोतासन; Raja – king, Kapot – pigeon, Asana – pose; Pronounced As – rah-JAH-cop-poh-TAHS-anna.

The Pigeon Pose is practiced in a seated position. It is a backbend pose that makes the chest puff up, thereby resembling the stance of a pigeon. This is how this asana is named Raja (king) kapot (pigeon) asana (pose). This asana is an advanced yoga pose.

Everything You Need To Know About The Rajakapotasana

  1. What You Should Know Before You Do The Rajakapotasana
  2. How To Do The Rajakapotasana
  3. Precautions And Contraindications
  4. Beginner’s Tips
  5. Advanced Pose Alterations
  6. Benefits Of The Pigeon Pose
  7. The Science Behind The Rajakapotasana
  8. Preparatory Poses
  9. Follow-Up Poses

What You Should Know Before You Do The Rajakapotasana

It is best to practice yoga early in the morning. In case you cannot wake up early, or have a whole lot of errands to run once you are up, you can practice this asana in the evening. Just make sure your stomach and bowels are empty. It is a good idea to leave a gap of at least four to six hours between your meal and the practice.

  • Level: Advanced
  • Style: Vinyasa
  • Duration: 30 to 60 seconds
  • Repetition: Once with the right leg forward and once with the left leg forward
  • Strengthens: Back, Groin
  • Stretches: Thigh, Groin

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How To Do The Rajakapotasana (King Pigeon Pose)

  1. Start off on your fours, making sure your knees are placed right under your hips, and your hands a little ahead of your shoulders.
  1. Now, gently slide your right knee forward, such that it is just behind your right wrist. While you do this, place the right shin under your torso, and bring your right foot in front of your left knee. The outsides of your right shin must rest on the floor.
  1. Slowly, slide your left leg to the back. Straighten your knee, and drop the front of your thighs to the floor. Lower the outsides of your right buttocks on the floor. Place your right heels in front of your left hip.
  1. You can angle your right knee towards the right, such that it is outside the line of the hip.
  1. Your left leg should extend itself straight out of the hip. Make sure it is not angled to the left. Rotate it inwards, such that its midline is pressed against the floor. Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, bend your left leg at the knees. Then, push your torso back and stretch as much as you can so that your head touches your foot.
  1. Lift your arms up, gently folding them at your elbows. Use your hands to bring your foot towards your head.
  1. Maintain the upright position of your pelvis. Push it down. Then, lift the lower rims of your rib cage against the pressure of the thrust. To lift up your chest, push the top of your sternum straight up and towards the ceiling.
  1. Stay in this position for at least a minute. Bring your hands back to the floor and drop your left knee down. Gently slide the left knee forward. Exhale and come up to the Adho Mukha Svanasana. Take a few breaths. Then, come back on your fours and breathe. As you exhale, do the asana with your left leg forward and right leg at the back.

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Precautions And Contraindications

These are a few points of caution you must keep in mind before you do this asana.

  1. This asana must be practiced under the supervision of a certified yoga instructor since it is an advanced pose. One wrong stretch could harm you greatly. This asana must be practiced only after you have been doing yoga regularly for a few months. It is not for beginners.
  1. It is best to avoid practicing this asana if you have an ankle, knee, or sacroiliac injury. This asana is not meant for pregnant women. Also, avoid it if you have tight hips or thighs.

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Beginner’s Tips

Many beginners find it difficult to grasp the back foot with their hands. It might be helpful to use a strap with a buckle in such cases.

  1. Slip the loop over the back foot and tighten it around the ball of the foot, making sure the buckle is against the sole.
  1. While you get your legs in position, place the strap beside you. Once you bend the knee at the back, grasp the strap with the same hand as the back leg.
  1. Swing that arm up over your head, and reach back with the other hand. Hold the strap with both the hands and walk your hands down the strap, reaching for your foot.

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Advanced Pose Alterations

This asana is a part of a series. The next two asanas that follow in the series are deeper and intense.

  1. In the first one, the forward leg must be in Ardha Virasana.
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  1. In the second one, the forward leg as well the pelvis must resemble the Hanumanasana.

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Benefits Of The Pigeon Pose

These are some benefits of the Rajakapotasana.

  1. It helps to stretch the entire lower body.
  1. It massages the abdominal organs, thereby improving digestion.
  1. It relieves back problems, especially sciatica. It also strengthens the back.
  1. It helps to add a whole lot of flexibility to the hip area and opens up the hips.
  1. The deep stretch relieves the body of stress and anxiety.
  1. It helps to open up the chest and strengthen the groin.
  1. It also improves the functioning of the urinary and reproductive systems.

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The Science Behind The Rajakapotasana

In its full expression, this asana requires a combination of strength and flexibility throughout the body. Your hips must be extremely flexible, as must your back and shoulders. While some people are naturally able, it takes years of practice for the others to get there.

This asana is a powerful hip-opener that increases not only the range motion but also the flexibility of the hips. Many sportspersons who run and jump have tight hips. Even people with sedentary, sitting jobs develop tight hips. This asana helps to loosen up the hip flexors.

This intense and advanced backbend is recommended for advanced practitioners only.

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Preparatory Poses

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Follow-Up Poses

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This asana is an intense stretch for the back and hips, and it might take great practice and determination to get it right. Now that you know how to do king pigeon pose, what are you waiting for? Do share your experience with us by commenting below.

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Shirin Mehdi

Shirin MehdiHealth & Wellness Writer

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