Type of pose: Hip opener, Backbend
Benefits: Stretches the thighs, groins, back, and psoas. Opens the chest and shoulders.
There are many ways to come into this pose. One of the best is from Downward Facing Dog.
1. From Downward Facing Dog, bring the right leg up into a Downdog split.
2. Bend the right leg and bring the right knee to the floor outside the right hand while releasing the front of the left leg to the floor. The right shin may angle back towards the left hip or be more parallel to the front of your mat, depending on your flexibility.
3. Square the hips towards the front of your mat.
4. Take padding under the right side of the butt as necessary to bring the hips square.
5. Try the following variations:
6. Bring the torso down into a forward bend over the right leg.
7. Let the weight of your body rest on the right leg.
8. Continue squaring the hips and breathing into the tightness.
9. Make sure the top of the left foot keeps pressing down into the mat.
10. Come back up, bringing the hands in line with the hips.
11. Bend the left knee and reach back for the left foot with your left hand.
12. Draw the foot towards your butt, stretching the left thigh.
12. Square your shoulders to the front of the room.
13. Release the left foot, curl the left toes under and step back to Downward Facing Dog.
14. Repeat pose on the other side.
Beginners: Be sure to take adequate padding under the right side of the butt. If necessary, use several blankets or a block.
Advanced: Start to bring the right shin more parallel with the front of the mat.
1. When the left knee is bent, draw the left foot into the crook of the left elbow.
2. Reach the right arm up, and clasp your hands behind your head (click the photo to see this variation).
3. When you are ready, move on to the full version of the pose, One Legged King Pigeon Pose.