Backward Bends

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) over a chair

Pigeon pose over a chair
Level: Advanced

Kapota = a pigeon.

Organizing the Pose

  1. Come into Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair.
  2. Slip the legs under the chair. If your legs are shorter, you might want to place a mat on the rung between the back chair legs and have the shins above. If the legs are longer, have them under the rung.
  3. Slide towards the head so that the upper body can release towards the floor.
  4. Either clasp the elbows or reach the arms overhead, bend the elbows and walk the hands back to the chair legs. Attache a belt to the chair legs and walk the hands back along the belt to make this easier. (See below.)
  5. Hold this position for 2 to 5 minutes.
  6. To come out of the pose, bend the knees and plant the feet on the floor. Bring the arms into the sides. (If necessary, bring one hand to the head and lift the chin in to the chest first.) Press up through the middle, rolling the chest up.
  7. Sit in the chair with the arms resting on the chair back for a moment to allow the blood pressure to equalize.

Practice Points

  • Roll the tailbone towards the heels, Soften and widen the buttock flesh.
  • Draw the shins towards you and lengthen the thighs to the knees.
  • Stretch from the hip creases to the top of the chest.
  • Broaden the back ribs and lengthen the waist towards the head.
  • Broaden the chest and collarbones.
  • Soften and widen the deltoids and shoulder blades.
  • Stretch evenly through the armpits and triceps towards the elbows.
  • Soften and widen the back of the neck.

Using a belt in Kapotasana over a chair.