Eka pada kapotasana or one-legged pigeon pose is a great hip opening asana which stretches the lumbar spine and the legs and ligaments. It also opens the heart chakra/anahata which is our centre of unconditional love and self-trust and union with all.
1. Start in Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog).
2. Inhale and raise your right leg back.
3. Exhale and bend the right knee and bring it in between the hands, resting the outer part of the leg on the mat. Keep your right foot close to the left inner thigh and your hips forward.
4. Inhale and press your hands into the mat, lengthening the spine.
5. Exhale and fold forward with the upper body. Rest your chest on the mat; lengthen your arms all the way forward, parallel to one another and resting on the mat.
Moving into Mermaid pose:
1. Bring the torso back up.
2. Bend the left knee and bring the left foot to the inner crease of the left elbow.
3. Bring your hands together above and slightly behind the head and rotate the torso so that the hips and pelvis are in neutral position.
Moving into Eka Pada Rajakapotasana:
1. From mermaid, catch the left foot with the left hand by externally rotating the left arm. Continue the rotation until the elbow is facing upwards and front.
2. Raise the right arm and bring the right hand to the left foot, holding the foot with both hands.
3. Keep your hips and pelvis neutral/ facing forward.
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana full posture
Start in the previous variation, with your torso up and neck facing straight ahead.
Inhale and bend the extended leg and bring it towards your back.
Exhale and push your pelvis forward and extend the lumbar spine
Inhale and open the chest
Exhale and bring your arms backwards and reach for the back foot.
Stretches the legs and ligaments
Strengthens the lumbar spine
Stretches the abdomen, improving digestion
Opens the hips
Releases muscular tension from the hips, legs and back
Improves flexibility of the spine
Opes the chest area
Releases nervous tension, stress and anxiety
Calming effect on the mind
Opens and activates the throat chakra and the heart chakra
Contraindications: (consult this pose with your general medical practitioner if you have the following)
Lower back injury