Start in downward facing dog with the hips lifting up and back. Finger spread wide and the palms of the hands firmly rooted into the earth.
On an inhale, lift the right leg up towards the sky into three legged dog.
On an exhale, step the right foot between the hands and walk the right foot over towards the left hand.
Place the right shin on the earth as parallel to the short side of the mat as much as possible. Flex the right heel so as to protect the right knee.
*Modifications: For tight hips you can fold or roll a blanket or place a block under your right hip. This will help to support and stabilize the hip, which will protect the right knee as well.
**It is very important to continually flex your right heel throughout this pose. This will engage the muscles and ligaments around the knee joint to prevent strain or injury.
Lengthen the left leg behind you. The left kneecap and top of the feet rests on the earth. The left inner thigh rolls slightly towards the sky (this will help the hips stay square)
Firmly press through the fingertips and lift the torso away from the right thigh. Exhale hinge from the hips and begin to fold forward
Draw the tailbone towards the back heel and firmly press the top of the back foot into the earth. Lengthen the spine.
To go deeper into this posture, come down to the forearms or extend the torso and arms forward and down so as to lay the body flat on the front bent leg.
To release Pigeon Pose, gently walk the hands back towards the hips and bring the torso up perpendicular to the earth. Press into the fingertips and tuck the back toes. Lift the front leg up off the earth. Press the hips up and back as you extend the right leg back to a three-legged dog. Bring the right foot down to Downward Facing Dog. Repeat on the opposite side.
Advanced Version – Full Expression of Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
- Stretches the thighs, groins, hips, gluteus maximus & abdominal muscles
- Regulate digestion
- Helps to relieve stress & anxiety
- Knee, ankle, or sacroiliac injury
- Pregnant women should not fold forward but rather keep the torso upright