What is it?
Swan or pigeon is a challenging pose in any style of yoga. In the Hatha tradition it is known as eka pada rajakapotasana, and it offers benefits for the whole body including the hip flexors, the spine, the torso and the mind.
How to approach this pose?
- Begin on all 4s in cat/cow position. Take the right knee towards the right wrist, swinging the right ankle towards the left hip.
- Your shin will probably be at a 45º angle to the end of the mat here, that’s fine.
- Take your left leg back and tuck the toes underneath to lift the knee back a little, then gently untuck the toes and place the knee down.
- Imagine that your knees are magnetized and pulling towards each other, this imagery may help to stabilise you in the posture.
- Gaze is forwards, hips are even and breath is steady.
- To come out of the pose, drop right hip to the floor and roll the left leg forwards.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- Sore knees/tight hips – try a seated version by crossing the right ankle over the left knee. Try to take the left foot flat on the floor and work your torso towards the left thigh.
- A reclining version of this pose is another option.
Try a rolled blanket, pillow or block underneath the hip of the front (bent) leg to help stabilise the hips. Blocks can also be used to place the hands on to help with balance. As always, a blanket under the back knee may make this pose more comfortable for the longer holds of a yin practice.
- Stimulates the meridians in the legs – spleen, liver, stomach, gallbladder and urinary bladder
- Stretches hip flexors and psoas
- Gentle back bend, lengthening the front of the torso and taking the spine into extension
See modifications for different variations of this pose.