One-Legged King Pigeon Pose

Everyone has their favourite Yoga pose (asana) and mine is One-Legged King Pigeon Pose, the advanced version of the Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) (you can read my blog on the Pigeon Pose here). It’s always been my pose of choice and my body seems to just fall into it when practicing Yoga. I love the way my back feels during the pose and I try to hold the position for as long as I can and then a bit longer.

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Me doing the One-Legged King Pigeon Pose in Portugal. Usually, you would bring your left leg all the way over the right, but my knee was feeling a bit painful so this was the most comfortable modification for me.

It’s a great hip opener and also great back bend practice. The idea is to puff the chest out, falling into deep back bend and slowly resembling a pigeon.

When practicing One-Legged King Pigeon Pose, breath work is key and it is also important to focus on your alignment as it is a position that needs a lot of balance. If it helps, use props or a partner to help with your stability when practicing.

How to do the One-Legged King Pigeon Pose

  1. Begin by kneeling on all fours, with your knees hip width apart
  2. With your hands firm on the ground, lift your right knee up towards your torso and slowly place in front of your left leg
  3. Slowly bring your right ankle to the floor, over your left knee, followed by your knee (go as far as you are comfortable). You should begin to feel your hips opening up.
  4. With your hands still firmly on the ground, begin to straighten your left leg behind you, extending it as far and straight as you can. Try to maintain stability in this seated position
  5. Of you feel ready, stretch your arms forward to complete Pigeon Pose, but be careful of putting too much pressure on your knee
  6. Once you’re in comfortable position, begin lengthening your spine and lift your torso away from the right thigh to straighten up. Feel free to stay in this position to become aligned.
  7. Then, raise your left leg and catch it with your left arm to complete One-Legged King Pigeon Pose. I would suggest start with one hand on the ground and the other holding the foot. You should now feel your quad muscles stretching.
  8. If you can maintain this position, begin modifying the pose by inhaling and bending back, as far as your body will allow you too, slowly closing the gap between your foot and head
  9. When you feel more confident, begin releasing your arms from the ground and raise into the air.

Benefits of the One-Legged Pigeon Pose:

  1. Increases range of hip motion
  2. Prepares the body for back bends
  3. Lengthens hip flexors
  4. Exercises Quad Muscles
  5. Keeps you grounded, preparing you for Lotus Pose (Padmasana) and other seated positions
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