Kapotasana – One Legged Pigeon Pose

Within the Kapotasana family of poses, there are certain variations in which you can use the yoga props. By properly using the yoga props, you can ensure a safe execution of the variation. In this way, you can prepare your body to perform the pose fully.

Although, in the old yogic texts, the pigeon pose is placed in the group of beginner poses, nowadays, due to the increasingly prevalent sedentary lifestyle, the pigeon pose is challenging for most people.

Feel free to practice a particular variation for a longer period of time without rushing to start with a more demanding variation. Otherwise, if you rush to start the practice of more demanding positions without your body being physically ready, it can lead to injuries that, in some cases, can be very serious and thus keep you away from the yoga mat for a long period of time.


Kapotasana in Sanskrit means pigeon pose (Kapota = pigeon, Asana = pose).

The pigeon pose is practiced in different styles of yoga, thanks primarily to the variations it offers when practicing this asana.

While practicing Kapotasana, you are activating and balancing your throat, heart, sacral, and root chakras.

The elements associated with this asana are air, water, earth, and ether.


Before starting practice, we advise you to definitely do the preparatory poses.  Thanks to these poses, you will prepare your body for a safer and more secure performance of Kapotasana, whether it is variations or the full pose.

The first pose that we recommend is Baddha Konasana.

Practicing this pose stretches your groin and quadriceps and gently opens your hips. This pose is great for people who sit for a long time during the day. Try to stay in this pose for 3 minutes.

The second pose that we recommend is the fire log pose. It is an asana in which there is a fine stretching and opening of the hips. Try to stay in the pose for 3 minutes for each hip.

The third asana that we think is great to do before Kapotasana is the reclining leg cradle. Thanks to this asana, you stretch your back muscles nicely. Try to stay in the pose for 3 minutes for each leg.

When you start practicing the full pigeon pose, it is very important to pay attention to the steps involved in getting into the pose.

1.Your back leg should be fully extended with the knee pointing down. You can’t let your back leg rotate to the side, and your knee can’t rotate to the side.

2. Your hips should be in line; you must not lean to one side. If this happens, feel free to place a blanket, pillow, or block under the side of the glute on which you are leaning.

3. Your front leg is bent at the knee so that the knee and ankle are in line. If you are not able to do that right now, feel free to bring the heel of the front leg closer to the center of the body. If the knee of your front leg is not on the yoga mat but is raised, in order not to injure the knee, feel free to place a blanket, pillow, or block under the knee.

4. Your shoulders are in line as are your hips. That way, your chest is fully open.

5. Place your palms on the yoga mat in front of your front foot, hip-width apart.

You noticed that certain props are used within the steps in case you feel the need for them. There is also a variation of pulling the heel of the front leg towards the mid-body in case you feel too much of a stretch.

If you feel too much of a stretch while you are in the full pigeon position with your arms outstretched, you can do the so-called resting pigeon pose. This asana involves your arms being fully extended in front of your body on the yoga mat or your palms resting on your elbows while your upper body is lowered all the way down.

Regardless of whether you enter the full pose or a specific variation, try to stay in the same pose for at least 3 minutes.

As far as your gaze is concerned while practicing the pigeon pose, you should focus your gaze on the tip of your nose.


If you have problems with the openness of your hips and hamstrings, Kapotasana is definitely the pose for you.

Regular practice of the pose will give you a fine stretch of your quadriceps and lower back.

With the regular and proper practice of one-legged pigeon pose, your chest will open, your chest muscles will be finely stretched, and your lung breathing capacity will increase. It will certainly be of use to you if you are currently dealing with allergy or asthma symptoms, as well as at times when you have a cold.

The pose helps one to massage the internal organs, particularly those in the abdominal cavity, which will improve your digestion process. The regular practice of this asana will also result in improved focus and presence in the present moment.

If you have sciatica, depression, or a thyroid gland imbalance, this asana can definitely help, if not completely solve, and certainly alleviate these challenges.

We should certainly mention that if you have recently had a hip, groin, leg, or lower back injury, you should definitely not practice this pose. This is also true for people who have rheumatoid arthritis.

Pregnant women and people who are older than 60 years should practice this pose with full attention, not forcing the performance of the pose in its entirety in case their bodies do not allow them to do so at the moment.


Pigeon pose is a preparatory pose to perform the King Pigeon pose. You should definitely keep that in mind since very often, people replace the pigeon pose with the king pigeon pose and start practicing the significantly more demanding poses.

In this way, unwanted injuries can occur as a result of practicing the asana that is not in accordance with the person’s psychophysical preparation.

This is most likely the result of working with an insufficiently experienced instructor, conducting independent research on the Internet, or reading articles that are not written by people of authority in the field of yoga.

If you practice yoga on your own without the physical presence of an instructor or teacher, we recommend that you always begin the practice of a new asana by performing its variations, even if you believe you can do it completely. In this manner, you will safely and securely prepare your body for the full position.

About the author

Urosh Martinovic

Urosh Martinovic is a yoga and mindfulness teacher. He has experience in more than 7,000 guided classes. His work includes 1 on 1 online classes and workshops. Uros is a founder of holistic portal for Balkan Moja Solja Joge (My cup of yoga).