Yoga Pose of the Week: One-Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

(Image Credit: lululemon athletica)

(Image Credit: lululemon athletica)

My name is Melanie Cuccia and I am a certified yoga instructor. Each week I will bringing you a new post with everything you need to know to execute a yoga pose. I’ll tell you how the pose benefits you, give you prep and counter poses, clue you into contraindications and modifications, and provide step by step instructions for the pose!

This week’s pose is the One-Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)!

Benefits of the One-Legged King Pigeon Pose:

  • Stretches the thighs, groins, psoas, abdominals, chest, shoulders, neck, and back.
  • Stimulates the abdominals.
  • Opens the hips, shoulders, and chest.

One-Legged King Pigeon Pose is a back bending pose which energizes and refreshes the body. Practicing this pose teaches you to move with grace and live life with an open heart.

Prep Poses:

  • Bound Angle Pose
  • Bridge Pose
  • Cobra Pose
  • Cow Face Pose
  • Extended Side Angle Pose
  • Extended Triangle Pose
  • Hero Pose
  • Reclining Hero Pose
  • Reclining Bound Angle Pose
  • Tree Pose

Counter Poses:

  • Big Toe Pose
  • Child’s Pose
  • Corpse Pose ( Savasana )
  • Downward Facing Dog
  • Forward Fold
  • Happy Baby
  • Head to Knee Pose
  • Legs up the Wall Pose
  • Reclining Big Toe Pose
  • Recling Bound Angle Pose
  • Reclining Hero Pose
  • Seated Forward Fold
  • Wide Angle Seated Forward Fold
  • Wide-Legged Forward Fold


  • Knee pain/injury
  • Hip pain/injury

Getting Into The Pose: A Step by Step Guide:

1. Start in Downwards Facing Dog. Lift your right leg up and bend your right knee in towards your chest.

2. Angle your leg so that your right big toe is close to your left wist.

3. Gently lower your right hip and outer shin towards the ground.

4. Slide your left leg out behind you. Make sure that this leg is extending straight out from your hip. It shouldn’t be angled out to the side.

5. Once you’re here, square your hips by making sure the points of your hips are facing forward.

6. If you feel comfortable in this position and want to deepen the pose try lengthening your spine and lifting your chest up.

7. Slowly drop your head back. Bend your left leg so that your left foot is pointing towards the sky.

8. Lift one arm up over your head and reach behind you to grab hold of your foot.

9. Lift the other arm over your head and reach behind you for your foot.

10. Stay here inhaling and exhaling for 2-4 breaths.

11. Slowly place your hands back on the ground, straighten your left leg out, and push up and back into Downwards Facing Dog.

12. Take a few deep breaths here and repeat steps 1-11 on the left side for the same length of time.


Most of us have very tight hips unfortunately. If your hips are tight you can make this pose more comfortable by placing a blanket or a block under your hip. This will also give you more support.

If you’re not feeling an upward pigeon pose, try it lying down.

If it’s difficult to reach your foot, you can use a strap! Make a small loop over the back foot and tighten the strap around the ball of your foot. Come into One-Legged King Pigeon Pose with the strap around your foot. Leave the strap lying next to the back foot. Bend your back knee and reach for the strap. While holding the strap, lift your arm up and over. Reach your other arm up and over to grab hold of the strap. Slowly start to walk your hands down the strap getting closer to your foot. Stop when it get’s uncomfortable.

Melanie C

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