Yoga Pose of the Week: Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Prep

Suki Dalury in Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Prep, by Zoe Zimmerman for Sundara Studios 2013

Suki Dalury in Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Prep, by Zoe Zimmerman for Sundara Studios 2013

A few weeks ago I introduced you to Mermaid Pose, a variation of the elusive and beautiful one-legged king pigeon pose. Any variation of one-legged king pigeon pose requires open hips, open shoulders, and an open spine. Which basically amounts to opening all the muscle groups of the body.

After a short warm up, take a table top position on all fours, inhale to slide your right knee forward to the outside of your right wrist keeping the shin on the floor.  Depending on how open you are feeling in your right hip the placement of your right foot will vary.  Either, place the foot just in front of your left thigh, or further forward so that your shin is parallel to the front of your mat.  Walk your left knee back so that your hips are descending evenly and equally toward the mat, not leaning to the left or to the right and placing a prop under either or both hips if necessary.

Tuck the toes on the back leg and inhale to lift your knee off of the mat.  While gathering strength in the back leg, press down into the front shin and draw into your pelvis and up your spine as you walk your hands in toward your hips. Inhale to lift your arms up alongside your ears and stretch through both elbows and all ten fingertips. With an exhale, root down and out through your legs, inviting your hips to sink deeper into the pose and if you like, walk your hands forward to bow.

Both the upward and downward movements in this preparatory pose are valuable. One creates strength while the other invites more flexibility.  Hold, while breathing deeply and mindfully for as long as you like, and then switch to the second side.