ONE-LEGGED PIGEON POSE (Eka Pada Kapotasana)

   

Contra-indications: Sacroiliac, ankle or knee injuries; recent abdominal surgery.

How to perform: Come onto all fours and bring your right knee between your hands, trying to keep your right thigh parallel to the sides of your mat. Stretch your left leg straight out behind you. Sit up straight - don't let your lower back curve in too much. To deepen the stretch, bring your foot up toward a parallel level with your with the top of the mat, forming a "bar" between your hands. To lessen the stretch, draw the foot back in, closer toward the pelvis. Stay for 6-12 deep breaths, loosening tension in the hips with each exhalation. To release, carefully slide the right leg backward, coming back to all fours. Repeat with the legs reversed for the same length of time.

Do not lean forward - walk your hands back and try to lower both sides of your pelvis toward the floor. Do not angle your left leg off to the left - it should extend straight out of the hip and rotate lightly inwardly, so its midline presses against the floor.

Do lift your chest and lengthen the sides of your waist to help keep your lower back long and free from strain.

What if... I can't descend the outside of the front-leg hip all the way to the floor? Place a thickly folded blanket underneath the hip for support.

Benefits: Stretches psoas, hips, buttocks, thighs and lower back. Opens chest and facilitates deeper breathing. Improves posture. Centres the mind.

  
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