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Pigeon pose (Kapotasana) meaning, steps, benefits and precautions

The Pigeon pose, also referred to as Kapotasana, is an advanced level yoga pose.

This is practiced only by experienced yogis who use it to provide a deep stretch to the back and shoulders. With regular practice of this asana there is a marked improvement in your spinal health and overall well being.

Pigeon pose steps, benefits and precautions

Kapotasana meaning

The name ‘Kapotasana’ is derived from two Sanskrit words:

  • ‘Kapot’ meaning Pigeon
  • ‘Asana’ meaning pose. 

The pose gets this name because of the similarity in the shape of the practitioner’s body and a pigeon with its puffed up chest.

Pigeon pose Kapotasana benefits and precautions

How to do the Pigeon pose?

Here is a step by step guide on how to do Kapotasana.

Step one

To get into the right position for the Pigeon pose, you have to start in the Lightning pose (Vajrasana).

From Vajrasana, lean backwards and lie down flat on the floor or yoga mat. Take support of your hands in the initial stages so that you don’t injure yourself while trying to lie down.

Step two

In the flat position, fold your elbows and bring your folded hands next to your head, right above your shoulders. In the final position, your hands will close to your ear with fingers pointed to your shoulders.

Your palms will be touching the ground in this position.

Step three

Engage your core muscles and shift your body weight on your hands by stretching your arms. 

Now try and lift your hips from the ground with your knees in a bent position. Keep both your feet close together.

Your lower legs will be on ground with the upper part of your feet in touch with the floor.

Step four

Try and bring your palms closer to the toes and hold your toes. You upper arms should be flat on the floor in the final position.

Step five

Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds and try to breathe normally. 

Step six

To release the yoga pose, take a deep breath and release your toes from the palms of your hand. Move your arms forward and then slowly bring your hips and lower body down to the floor. 

Lie flat on the floor as in step one.

Step seven

Make both your feet straight and relax. Breathe normally.

Benefits of Pigeon pose

  1. Kapotasana helps in stretching the full front portion of your body. In addition, it also provides a good stretch to your back, thighs, abdomen and chest.
  2. Regular practice of this yoga pose leads to an improvement in your overall body posture.
  3. It massages your abdominal organs.
  4. Regular Kapotasana practice leads to an improvement in the strength of your back.
  5. The yoga asana improves the overall flexibility of your body.
  6. Kapotasana improves the blood circulation in the body and also improves the performance of the digestive system.
  7. For people who suffer from urinary disorders, this asana helps to alleviate the condition with regular practice.
  8. Regular practice of the Pigeon pose reduces stress and anxiety and rejuvenates the body.
  9. For people suffering from issues like Sciatica or blood pressure, this asana can be very beneficial with long term practice.
  10. Kapotasana also helps in getting rid of issues of the digestive system like constipation and improves its performance. 
  11. It also strengthens your leg muscles and improves flexibility.

Precautions and contraindications

  1. Kapotasana should not be performed by pregnant women.
  2. Since this yoga pose puts a lot of pressure on core muscles, it should only be performed with an empty stomach or with a gap of at least 2-3 hours from the last meal.
  3. Any practitioner who suffers from issues of high or low blood pressure should not include this yoga pose in their yoga practice.
  4. People with issues like Arthritis or Hernia should not try this yoga pose.
  5. If you have recently suffered any injury in your arms, shoulders, back or legs, you should not perform this yoga pose and stick to the poses advised during your restorative yoga sessions only.
  6. People who suffer from problems like Insomnia or Migraine should also avoid Kapotasana.
  7. Ensure that at no point you are stretching your body too much outside the comfort zone. The chances of injuring yourself if you are not performing it within limits are very high.

Yoga poses related to Pigeon pose

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