How to Do Half Pigeon Pose

Follow these tips to add a hip-opening pose to your yoga practice.

Half Pigeon Pose, or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, is one of the final poses you’ll practice in the Vinyasa series. After warming up with standing, balancing and backbending postures, your body should be ready to practice this stretch.

Take your time moving in and out of Half Pigeon. Remember: while you will feel sensation, you should never feel pain. Avoid this pose completely if you have any knee issues.

PURPOSE OF THE POSE

Stretches the hips.

HOW TO

  • From Downward Facing Dog, bring your right foot toward your right wrist, then set your knee and shin on the mat
  • Straighten your left leg back — your legs will resemble the shape of the number 7. For most practitioners, aligning your shin parallel to the front edge of your mat is not accessible or necessary! Instead, work with your level of flexibility and place your heel a comfortable distance from your groin
  • Align your right knee in line with your right hip
  • Flex your right foot
  • Walk your hands forward and lower your forehead to the mat
  • Square your hips toward the mat
  • To release, walk your hands back and straighten your arms. Step back to Downward Facing Dog and switch sides

MODIFICATION

If you’re new to the practice, try a modified variation of Half Pigeon.

  1. Slide the block under your bent leg to find a comfortable resting position
  2. An alternative not shown here is to place the block under your forehead — this can be a great option to help gently increase flexibility

COMMON MISTAKE

Avoid lifting your hip too far from the ground. You should also avoid resting that hip on the floor and allowing your opposite hip to lift away from the floor. Try practicing with a yoga block placed horizontally, to its lowest point, under your hip for support.

Hold the pose while breathing deeply. Close your eyes and enjoy this deep hip stretch. Practice another stretch, like Happy Baby, before relaxing in Savasana.