Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) Step-by-step Instructions and Benefits

Kapotasana: Step by step Instructions and Benefits - sharpmuscle
8 min read
Updated: April 30, 2023

Kapotasana, also known as Pigeon Pose, is a challenging pose and a deep backbend pose.

This yoga asana gives an intense stretch to the back, thighs, hips, and buttocks as well as the spine and chest, and will therefore restore motion in these areas. This yoga pose in particular will improve the Lotus Pose and splits Pose, and prepare your spine for more advanced back-bending poses.


Known as:Kapotasana, Pigeon Pose, King Pigeon Pose, Rajakapotasana
Sanskrit name:कापोतासन
Total time:30 to 60 seconds
Chakra:Sahasrara Chakra, Ajna Chakra, Vishuddha Chakra, Anahata Chakra
Focus:Whole body
Indications:Sciatica, urinary disorder
Counterposes:Apanasana, Paschimottanasana
Contraindications:High blood pressure or low blood pressure, serious low back or neck injury, sacroiliac problems, migraine, insomnia

Meaning + Origin

The Kapotasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of two words — Kapota + asana:

  1. Kapota” = “pigeon”
  2. asana” = “pose or posture”

It is actually named after a great guru, Kapota, whose yogic achievements are described in texts such as the Mahabharata and the Kalika Purana.

When one considers Kapotasana, it looks as beautiful as a bird shaped poster. With this asana, you will get more freedom and energy in your spine and balance-mind health. It has its full benefits, and it also gives your body a good vibe.

It is necessary to incorporate this asana in your yoga practice. Kapotasana is one of the great exercises and provides excessive stretch, elasticity, and flexibility to the muscles of the body, especially the torso and limbs.

Pigeon pose opens the deep abdomen, draws energy from the thighs and focuses it on the navel center. This energy and the heat generated in the navel center, as we hold the position and breathe diaphragmatically, cleans the stomach, heals, and revives the abdominal organs.

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What are the benefits of Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)?

Kapotasana (Rajakapotasana) is a challenging backbone that benefits from proper preparation.

There are many amazing benefits of Kapotasana:

  • It helps to increase elasticity in your arms, spine, thighs, calf muscles, shoulders, and hands.
  • It helps to stretch and strengthen the muscles and joints in your feet.
  • This asana also tones the muscles of the throat and organs inside the ribeck, stomach and chest.
  • Refines blood circulation in the body and improves and enhances the function of the digestive system.
  • Benefits in lowering blood pressure and reduces the effect of chronic diseases.
  • Reduces sciatica and makes lungs strong.
  • Activates the nervous system and also increases oxygen intake.
  • Reduces stiffness in hips, back and shoulders.
  • Calms the mind and body and relieves tension.
  • Helps in the treatment of urinary disorders.

When to practice?

For Kapotasana, it is necessary that your bowels and stomach are completely empty, with an interval of at least four to six hours between your meals and exercise. This will give your body enough time to digest the food and spend the energy produced.

It is better to get up early in the morning and practice this asana. But if you are not a morning person, you can practice this asana in the evening.

Preparatory sequences to master in Kapotasana

Preparatory sequences to master in Kapotasana - sharpmuscle
Preparatory sequences to master in Kapotasana
  1. Hero Pose (Virasana)
  2. Reclining Hero’s Pose (Supta Virasana)
  3. Modified Lunge (Hanumanasana)
  4. A gentle backbend pose (Bhujangasana)
  5. Seated Spinal Twist or Lord of the Fishes Pose (Matsyendrasana)
  6. Bow pose (Dhanurasana)
  7. One-legged pigeon pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
  8. Wheel Pose (Chakrasana or Urdva Dhanurasana)

Precautions and contraindications

Kapotasana or Pigeon Pose is a yoga posture that can offer numerous benefits to the body, such as opening the hips, stretching the thighs and groins, and increasing flexibility in the spine. However, like any other yoga pose, it also has its precautions and contraindications that one should keep in mind to avoid injury or discomfort.

Some precautions and contraindications of Kapotasana are explained below:

  1. Knee injuries: If you have knee injuries or pain, it’s best to avoid this pose as it puts pressure on the knee joint. This is especially true if you experience pain or discomfort in the front of the knee. Instead, you can try a modified version of the pose or another hip-opening pose that doesn’t put as much pressure on the knees.
  2. Lower back pain: If you have lower back pain, you should avoid this pose or take caution while performing it. It’s best to avoid bending the spine too much and focus on opening the hips instead. If you experience any discomfort, it’s important to back off the pose or seek guidance from a yoga teacher.
  3. Pregnancy: Pregnant women should avoid this pose as it puts pressure on the belly and the pelvic region. Instead, they can practice modified versions of the pose that are safe for pregnancy or other prenatal yoga postures.
  4. Neck injuries: If you have neck injuries, you should avoid dropping your head back in this pose. It’s best to keep the neck in a neutral position or use a prop to support the head.
  5. Hip injuries: If you have hip injuries or pain, it’s essential to take caution while performing this pose. It’s best to avoid forcing the pose and listen to your body. If you experience any discomfort, it’s significant to back off the pose or seek guidance from a yoga teacher.
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Overall, it’s essential to practice Kapotasana with awareness, caution, and under the guidance of a qualified yoga teacher. By doing so, you can avoid injury and discomfort and reap the benefits of this pose.

How to do Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)?

  • Start in Ustrasana. Inhale to lift your lower abdomen in and up, and move your tailbone towards the floor to stabilize your lower back.
  • Then move both hand towards the ceiling, externally rotating your shoulder and attach both hands together with your ears.
  • Avoid crunching the lower back by attaching the core and maintaining length in the lower spine.
  • If you are able to move without tension or pain, then breathe in to move backwards, leading with the sternum.
  • Raise your shoulders, squeeze your elbows towards each other and move your head back.
  • Exhaling, move your arms towards the floor. Push your feet into the floor and, using the same support through the legs you cultivated in Laghu-vajrasana, bend your knees only to reach the palms of your hands on the outside of each leg.
  • Move your hands towards your knees so that the fingers align with your ankles.
  • Transfer some weight to hand and move your right fingers to your heel.
  • After grabbing your right heel, hold it firmly.
  • Then shift your weight slightly in your right hand and use your right heel to hold the fingers of your left hand to raise your left fingers.
  • Holding both legs, squeeze the elbows towards each other, and push your hips forward, keeping your hips in line with your back and your tailbone towards your knees.
  • While exhaling bend your elbows and move them towards the floor.
  • Keep pulling the hips forward without palpating or bringing the head to the ground.
  • Try to be here for 5 breaths. To get out of the posture, move slowly and carefully.
  • Inhale and bring your hands back to your hips, thumbs on your sacrum.
  • Roll the spine up so that you stand on your knees. Stay with 5 breaths in child pose.
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Beginners guide

If you are a beginner, you can use the support of a wall to achieve perfection. Push your soles against the wall. Gently bend backwards, using the head to hold your hands. Then put your crown on the wall. Push your forearms against the wall. This will make the posture much easier.

Variation of Kapotasana (Advance level)

To take this asana to another level, you can use a chair. But remember to be extremely vigilant, and practice different forms of these pigeons only under expert guidance.

  • Observe this pose by positioning the inverted employee on the chair.
  • Then, slide your feet under the chair, and place your hands on the legs of the chair.
  • Be gentle as you handle the situation and come out of it.
  • If you are using a chair to perform this asana, make sure that you maintain this position for two to five minutes.


After Kapotasana, any person can take follow-up action:

1. Balasana:

  • Gently spread hips, thighs and ankles.
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue.
  • Supporting the head and torso provides relief from back and neck pain.

Read more: Balasana step-by-step instructions

2. Pasasana:

  • Strengthens the stretch and ankles.
  • Stretches the thighs, waist, and spine.
  • Opens chest and shoulders.
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs.
  • Improves digestion and elimination.
  • Improves posture.

Read more: Pasasana step-by-step instructions

3. Svanasana:

  • Calms your brain, helps relieve stress, and mild depression.
  • Relaxes the body.
  • Reduces headache, fatigue and insomnia.
  • Helps reduce blood pressure.

Read more: Svanasana step-by-step instructions

4. Bharadvaja’s Twist:

  • Stretches the spine, shoulders, and hips.
  • Massages the abdominal organs.
  • Relieves lower back, neck pain and sciatica.
  • Helps to relieve stress.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Especially good in the second trimester of pregnancy to strengthen the lower back.
  • Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Read more: Bharadwaja’s Twist step-by-step instructions

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