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 your right knee and bring that 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 your hips towards the front of your mat.
4. Take padding under the right side of the butt as necessary to make the pose more comfortable.
5. Try the following variations:
6. Bring your torso down into a forward bend over your right leg.
7. Let the weight of your body rest on your right leg.
8. Continue squaring your hips and breathing into the tightness.
9. Make sure the top of your left foot keeps pressing down into the mat and pointing straight back.
10. Come back up, bringing your hands in line with your hips.
11. Bend your left knee and reach back for your left foot with your left hand.
12. Draw your foot towards your butt, stretching your left thigh.
12. Square your shoulders to the front of the room.
13. Release your left foot, curl your 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 your right shin more parallel with the front of the mat.
1. When your left knee is bent, draw your left foot into the crook of your left elbow.
2. Reach your right arm up, and clasp your hands behind your head.
3. When you are ready, move on to the full version of the pose, one legged king pigeon pose.