Yoga Pose Breakdown: Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)

Pigeon Pose can be a juicy one. Here’s what you need to know to safely give it a try.

Sometimes called the “king of hip openers,” Pigeon pose can be a juicy release of emotions and tension. Because it deals with the hips, it correlates to the element of water and the second chakra—our sexual and creative center. People usually either love it or hate it. It’s often incorporated at the end of a vinyasa class, or during yin.

For Wanderlust teacher Mary Beth LaRue, “pigeon pose represents a pause. It almost always signifies the end of a more yang, flow practice. A time to be still and to breathe deeply as well as observe and let my attention rest upon the sensation I feel in my hips.”

Sanskrit Name: Kapotasana
Kapota = Pigeon
Asana = Pose

Get Started: 

  • Begin kneeling in Camel Pose with your knees hip-width distance apart and your shoulders, knees and head stacked in one line
  • Tuck your chin to your sternum and lean your head and neck as far back as possible without shooting your hips forward
  • Firm your shoulders down your back and lift through your chest
  • Gradually release your head back
  • Reach your hands overhead to the ground below you
  • Bring your hips forward as your head moves back
  • Keep your thighs perpendicular to the floor as you drop back
  • Lengthen your upper spine as you drop your hands to your feet
  • Drop the crown of your head toward the floor
  • Raise your hips and open your groins as much as possible
  • Lift your pelvis
  • Draw your arms toward each other and rest your hands on your ankles
  • Expand your chest and lift through your sternum

Benefits: This pose stretches the entire front of the body, the ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen, chest, and throat. It stretches the psoas, strengthens the back muscles, improves posture, and it stimulates the abdominal organs, and neck.

Contradictions: Do not practice this pose if you high or low blood pressure, insomnia, a migraine, or a neck injury.

Know Your Asana: Be sure to properly warm up your back for this peak pose. Do not practice this pose without the support of either a teacher or an experienced practice.

Be guided by Mary Beth into Pigeon on Wanderlust TV!