Kapotasana, Pigeon Pose


Suki Dalury in Kapotasana, by Zoe Zimmerman for Sundara Studios 2013

There are times when we glimpse something that looks so amazing, so beautiful, so unknown to us, that we tell ourselves, “That won’t ever be me.”  At first glance, Kapotasana, Pigeon Pose can have this effect on us.  There is no question that in the full form of this posture the body is open in such a way that it appears to be impossible.  The fact that one doesn’t often spend much time bending all the way backwards can lead to an immediate resistance of, or disbelief in one’s potential to experience this physical posture. However, with all things in life that don’t come easy, with diligent effort, this form, or at least a glimpse of it, is attainable.

Begin with a good warm up.  I suggest a few sun salutations, hip and shoulder openers.  When your body feels warm, stand on your knees with your hands upon your hips.  Inhale to lift your heart courageously as if you were setting out to explore the vast universe with excitement. Exhale to curl your heart toward the ceiling as you lean back, coiling from your heart through the back of your head.

Now in Ustrasana (Camel Pose), draw your legs strongly into the midline as you take another deep inhale, stretching your arms back alongside your ears.  Exhale to lean farther back touching your fingertips to the floor behind you.  Inhale, again drawing into your midline.  Exhale, root your tailbone down into your knees and feet, lift your heart, look toward your toes and walk your hands in toward your feet, grab them! Place your elbows on the mat, and breathe.

Inhale to rise out of the pose, sit back on your heels, and marvel at the dimensions of the universe beneath your skin, whatever you glimpsed.