Kapotasana or pigeon pose is a great hip opening asana which stretches the lumbar spine and the legs and ligaments. It also opens the vishudi chakra/the throat chakra which is responsible for clarity of speech and freedom of expression.
Start in downward dog (hands on the mat and legs are back with the whole soles of the feet on the mat)
*To release this pose, inhale and come back onto your hands, exhale and get onto your left tip toes, inhale and bring your right knee of the mat and back parallel to the left leg and exhale, stay in downward dog. Repeat the same pose with your left leg.
Advanced option: Royal pigeon (step 3 in the image)
Start in pigeon pose, 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