How to Do Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) Steps

What is Eka Pada Rajakapotasana?

Pigeon pose is a hip and groin opening forward bend yoga asana. It needs the flexibility to practice with perfection. It gives adequate stretching to the thighs, groin, back and psoas. It is a perfect yoga pose for those who do sitting work for long hours.


  • This is the hip opening yoga pose engaging the hip flexor, gluteus, pelvic floor and psoas muscles, lower back, quadriceps and hamstrings, thereby giving proper stretching, strengthening and lengthening to the hip muscles.
  • The tummy dashes against the thighs, resulting in steady respiration.
  • It helps to cleanse the liver.
How to Do Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) Steps
Pigeon pose yoga

Pigeon Pose step-by-step instructions

  • Start in Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) with your hands and feet on the mat, forming an inverted V shape.
  • Lift your right leg into Down Dog Split by extending it straight behind you.
  • Bend your right knee and bring it forward towards your chest as if you were going to step into a lunge.
  • Instead of placing your right foot on the ground, bring your right knee to the floor outside your right hand. Depending on your flexibility, your right shin may be at an angle toward your left hip or parallel to the front of your yoga mat.
  • Lower your left knee to the mat, keeping your left leg flat on the floor. Ensure that your left foot is pointing straight back.
  • Square your hips towards the front of your yoga mat. This means both hips should be level and facing forward.
  • If needed, place padding (such as a folded blanket or gym towel) under the right side of your hip to make the pose more comfortable.
  • If you feel stable, you can bring your torso down into a forward bend over your right leg, reaching your forehead toward the floor. Keep your hips square, and try to distribute your weight evenly.
  • Breathe profoundly and continue to square your hips and relax into the pose, focusing on any areas of tightness.
  • To release the pose, return by bringing your hands in line with your hips.
  • To transition out of Pigeon Pose, curl your left toes under and step back into Downward Facing Dog.


  • English name: Pigeon pose forward bend
  • It is pronounced as ‘ARH-dah KAH-po-TAHS-anna’ wherein Ardha = half and Kapota = pigeon.
  • Sanskrit: Kapotasana II
  • Different names: Pigeon pose forward bend, Kapotasana I, Kapotasana II, Sleeping swan pose, Yin Yoga sleeping swan pose
  • Koshas: Annamaya Koshas, Manomaya Kosha


  • The Pigeon Pose impacts the following muscles.
  • Lower back, upper back, gluteus, Hamstrings, hips, hips external, Knees, neck, pelvic, psoas, and quadriceps

Preparatory pose

  • Thread the needle pose variation pigeon legs
  • Seated straddle pose
  • Cow face pose


  • Avoid practising the pose if you have a knee injury.
  • One shouldn’t practice it during hip-related issues.


  • Hip strain
  • Knee pain

Modifications and variations

If your bent leg’s hip doesn’t touch the floor in Pigeon Pose, it’s crucial to provide proper padding. You can use folded blankets or yoga blocks to support your hip. This helps distribute your weight evenly and maintains proper alignment, reducing the risk of stressing your knee or twisting your sacrum.

Consider using yoga props like blocks if the forward bend in Pigeon Pose is challenging or uncomfortable. Place a block under your forearms or your forehead while in the pose. This creates a supportive system that allows you to relax into the forward bend gradually.

Eye of the Needle can be a good alternative if Pigeon Pose isn’t suitable for your body or feels too intense. In Eye of the Needle, you lie on your back and cross one ankle over the opposite knee, creating a similar hip-opening effect but with less intensity. It’s an excellent option for those working on hip flexibility without the deep forward bend of Pigeon Pose.

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