Known in the original Sanskrit as Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, this pose is an extremely advanced one, not advised for those who have only just begun to venture into the world of Yoga. It falls into the category of a backbend, and is primarily used to open up the chest and hips, as well as to stretch the legs, arms and groin. The complexity and difficulty of the One-Legged King Pigeon Pose is perhaps exemplified by the huge number of benefits it evinces, so I cannot express enough that this pose should be reserved for only the most advanced practitioners.
What is the One-Legged King Pigeon Pose?
The pose is not an easy one to achieve. Veteran participants in yoga will be familiar with the standard Pigeon position, and this is the starting point for the more advanced version. From here, you must lift up the left leg (the back leg) and reach over the head with your left arm to grasp the toes. Once this is complete, reach back with the right arm also, to make your handle on the leg stronger, before leaning the head back so that it almost (or indeed does) make contact with the sole of your foot. To push this even further, some people choose to twist the torso and use the left foot to hook the right arm at the elbow.
What are the Benefits?
For those willing to put in the preparatory training required to achieve the One-Legged King Pigeon Pose, there is a plethora of benefits. As one might imagine, both the arms and legs receive a thorough workout, and this will help to stretch them and increase their flexibility. The main benefits however, come for the hips, groin and chest. The contortion of the legs opens up the hips, as it pushes them to the boundaries of their rotational capacities, a position which also helps to stretch the groin. Thankfully, the position opens up the chest by a considerable amount, allowing for the better flow of blood through the heart and around the body, as well as freeing up the lungs for deeper breathing. This means that although difficult on the musculoskeletal front, the position doesn’t cause too much discomfort, so long as you have done the necessary preparations. Continued use of this position will aid your circulation by freeing up the heart and opening up the chest, it will generally improve your flexibility, and it will better your posture by eliminating the need to slouch. If you are able to reach the required levels of experience, this position is one which yields a huge number of benefits.