Eka Pada Rajakapotasana II
Releasing and stretching the quadriceps is a welcome relief for runners, weight trainers, and especially anyone unlucky enough to be sitting for long periods of time. One-Legged King Pigeon Pose is a fantastic opening not just for the legs, but for the entire front of the body. The muscles and glands of the throat area, the chest, the abdominals and the deep hip flexors (psoas) all benefit from this posture.
Other benefits of this posture include increased energy, stress reduction, improved circulation to the abdominal cavity and lower back, as well as relief from menstrual discomfort.
To enter into the stretch, first come to a kneeling position. (You can do this near a wall if your balance is shaky.) Bend your right knee and place the foot on the floor so the ankle is vertically aligned with knee. Allow your left leg to lay on the floor fully extended, with the top of the foot on the floor.
Bend your left knee and raise the shin approximately perpendicular to the floor. Your body weight will balance on the right foot and left knee (and thigh if you’re very flexible). To stabilize your position, push your right knee forward until it reached slightly past the right toes.
Inhale as you lift your right arm up, bend at the elbow, exhale and take the left foot. Holding the foot firmly, lift your chest and drop your head back slightly. Hold for about 15 to 30 seconds, breathing as smoothly as possible.
Exhale, release the left foot and bring the leg back to the floor. Repeat on the left side for the same length of time.
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose strengthens the back muscles, improves posture and stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck.
If you have high or low blood pressure, a serious low back or knee injury, proceed carefully, or use a strap as shown above. Also, if you have a sensitive neck or any type of neck injury, keep the chin tucked in rather than dropping the head back fully