Sometimes Yoga just seems like no laughing matter, and usually that’s when things get tough, or if you land flat on your face. This pose is tough, with a big risk of greeting the floor at a high speed with your dish and a load of body weight behind it. That being said, it’s great to face one’s difficulties and learn that it’s not all that bad after all. Flying Pigeon Pose gives us the chance to get strong, both physically and mentally, to find balance in a strange position, and to become brave in the face of a little uncertainty.
King Pigeon Pose or Eka Pada Galavasana of course takes a lot of practice (unless you’re very lucky) and a lot of preparation with poses to help open up and strengthen the body in targeted areas. On the whole it helps to open up at the hips, improve sense of balance and strengthen your upper body. You can also feel this deep within your abodominal and pelvic floor region, so it helps to get you in touch with some big support areas.
If you have wrist, elbow, shoulder or hip injuries best to sit this one out until you have healed and feel ready to prepare for a mega-balance. Also if you’re new to Yoga practice and are not sure if you’re ready, have a talk with your teacher about this before practicing at home.
King Pigeon Pose – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (above)
Warrior Two – Virabhadrasana 2 (above)
Warrior Three – Virabhadrasana 3 (above)
Four Limbed Staff Pose – Chaturanga Dandasana (above)
Crow Pose – Bakasana (above)
Side Crow Pose – Parsva Bakasana (above)
Step by Step Guide
A great place to start is Utkatasana (fierce pose). Here you can lift your right leg and cross your right ankle over your left knee, then flex your right foot and keep it flexed for the rest of the pose. Whilst still upright, inhale and grow your torso as long as possible.
As you exhale start to fold forwards over your legs and bring your hands flat to the floor, shoulder width apart. With an inhale legnthen your torso forwards and as you exhale start to rest your body weight through your right shin and across your upper arms. If you can get your shin right up to the top of your upper arms, by the armpits, that’s ideal. You will most likely need to bend your standing leg a little to land the hands and tuck your leg right in to your shoulders. It’s really important to flex your toes on your right foot and wrap them around the outside of your left upper arm to help with grip.
Take a few rounds of breath here to establish comfort and make sure that there’s plenty of friction between the shin and the upper arms. With an exhale let all the body weight come in to the upper arms through your shin and start to lift your left foot off the ground. This is the point at which the face is at risk of landing to the floor so take a few moments to breath here, get steady and establish good support through a lift in your pelvic floor and strong work in the abdominal area.
If you’re feeling good and balanced here, look to lengthen your left leg behind and slightly upwards whilst also opening across your chest and bringing your breastbone forwards. Hold this for up to 6 breaths and try to calm the breath here whilst maintaining strength and balance.
To come out of the pose, gently bend the back leg and slowly lower it to the floor. Unravel the legs and bring yourself into Adho Mukha Virasana to rest before practicing on the other side.