Kapotasana - Kapotasana Yoga ( Pigeon Pose), Steps, Variations and Benefits

Apr 10, 2024


Kapotasana - Kapotasana Yoga (Pigeon Pose), Steps, Variations and Benefits

Kapotasana, also known as Pigeon Pose, is a popular yoga asana that offers a myriad of benefits for the mind and body. It is an intermediate level yoga pose that combines elements of hip opening, backbend, and chest opening to create a deeply transformative posture. In this article, we will explore what Kapotasana is, how to perform it correctly, and the numerous benefits it provides.

About the Author

The article is written by Mr. Ashish who is a yoga teacher past many years in Haritha Yogshala Academy, Rishikesh. He has trained thousands of students till date and now he is sharing his personal experiences and detailed knowledge about Kapotasana yoga through this esteemed article. 

So, read the article till the end to know about Kapotasana Yoga in depth. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Kapotasana, or Pigeon Pose, is an intermediate yoga asana that combines hip opening, backbend, and chest opening.

  • Practicing Kapotasana can improve flexibility, strengthen the back, and improve posture.

  • Kapotasana stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck, providing benefits for the entire body.

  • It is important to approach Kapotasana with caution and consult a healthcare professional if you have specific contraindications or injuries.

  • Modifications and variations of Kapotasana are available to suit individual needs and abilities.

A person practicing Kapotasana Yoga, also known as Pigeon Pose, demonstrating flexibility and strength in their yoga practice

How to Do Kapotasana Yoga (Pigeon Pose) Step-by-Step

To perform Kapotasana, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Start in a tabletop position, with your hands and knees on the mat.

  2. Bring your right knee forward, placing the outer edge of the right shinbone and right buttock on the mat.

  3. Extend your left leg straight out behind you, with the top of the left knee, thigh, and ankle resting on the floor.

  4. Lower your pelvis towards the mat and press your palms into the floor, keeping your arms straight.

  5. Lift your sternum and chest, creating a slight backbend.

  6. Hold this pose for several breaths, feeling a deep stretch in your hips.

  7. To progress into resting pigeon pose, fold forward, bringing your forehead towards the mat.

  8. To deepen the stretch, you can reach back and grab your left foot with your left hand, entering the one-legged king pigeon pose.

There are four variations of Pigeon Pose:

  1. Pigeon Pose: Start with the basic pose described above.

  2. Resting Pigeon Pose: Fold forward, resting your forehead or chest on the mat.

  3. One-Legged King Pigeon Pose: Reach back and grab your back foot with your hand, deepening the stretch and backbend.

  4. King Pigeon Pose: The most advanced variation, where the back foot is brought closer towards the head, creating a deeper backbend.

Preparatory Poses for Kapotasana

Before attempting Kapotasana, it is beneficial to practice preparatory poses that help open the hips and prepare the body. These poses include:

  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

  • Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

  • Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

  • Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)

  • Virasana (Hero Pose)

  • Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)

  • Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose)

These poses help warm up the body, increase flexibility, and prepare the hips for the deep stretch of Kapotasana. They also strengthen the back and open the chest, creating a solid foundation for the full expression of the pose. Incorporating these preparatory poses into your practice will enhance your experience with Kapotasana and help you reap its full benefits.

Follow-Up Poses for Kapotasana

  • Balasana (Child's Pose): This resting pose helps release any remaining tension in the back and hips after practicing Kapotasana, providing a sense of grounding and relaxation.
  • Bharadvajasana I: This seated twist pose helps release any residual tension in the spine and hips, promoting a balanced and calm state.
  • Pasasana (Noose Pose): Pasasana is a deep twist pose that helps wring out any remaining tension in the spine, while also stretching the shoulders and hips.
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog): This rejuvenating pose is excellent for stretching the entire body, providing a gentle release and allowing you to find stability and balance after Kapotasana.

By incorporating these preparatory and follow-up poses into your Kapotasana practice, you can enhance your flexibility, warm up the body, and ensure a well-rounded yoga session. Remember to listen to your body, move gently, and modify poses as needed to suit your individual needs and abilities.

Benefits of Kapotasana Yoga 

Kapotasana, also known as Pigeon Pose, offers numerous benefits especially for those who seek for a good abdominal and spine stretch. It gives a quick boost to the whole physical body along with mental strength. This powerful yoga asana strengthens various parts of the body, providing a holistic approach to health and wellness.

Top most benefits of kapotasana yoga are:

1.Ankle, Thigh, and Groin Stretch

Kapotasana involves a deep stretch in the ankles, thighs, and groins, helping to improve flexibility and mobility in these areas.

2. Abdomen and Chest Opening

By arching the back and opening the chest, Kapotasana stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck, promoting improved digestion and deeper breathing.

3. Muscle Flexibility and Strength

The pigeon pose extends the hip flexors, quadriceps, and psoas muscles, enhancing muscle flexibility. Additionally, it strengthens the back muscles, improving overall posture and stability.

4. Reduced lung inflammation: A Yoga for Asthma 

Kapotasana is a very good yoga for asthmatic patients. Its deep chest stretch reduces asthma symptoms by expanding lung capacity and promoting better airflow.

5. Mental Health Benefits

As a heart-opening pose, Kapotasana can have a positive impact on mental health. It may aid in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, while promoting a sense of calm and balance.

6. Weight Management

Regular practice of Kapotasana is proven as a great yoga for weight management.  It helps by increasing metabolism, toning the muscles, and promoting healthy digestion.

7. Lower Back Pain Relief

Kapotasana targets the lower back, providing a gentle stretch to eradicate tension, reduce pain, and improve flexibility in this area.

8. Stress Reduction

The combination of deep breathing, gentle stretching, and mindfulness in Kapotasana reduces stress levels, promoting relaxation and a sense of well-being.

Risks and Contraindications of Kapotasana

While Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) offers many benefits, it is essential to understand the potential risks and contraindications associated with this yoga asana. Practitioners with knee injuries, recent knee surgeries, spinal, abdominal, or hip injuries should approach Kapotasana with caution and consider modifying the posture to avoid further harm. It is also important to note that individuals with limited wrist flexibility should take care while performing this pose to prevent strain or injury.

To minimize the risks associated with Kapotasana, it is recommended to practice under the guidance of a trained yoga professional who can provide proper alignment and modifications based on individual needs. Yoga instructors can ensure that the pose is performed safely, as they have the expertise to offer adjustments and alternatives that protect vulnerable areas of the body.

Remember to always listen to your body's cues and avoid pushing beyond your limits. If you experience any discomfort or pain during Kapotasana, modify the pose or seek guidance from a qualified yoga instructor.

Yoga Teacher’s words about Kapotasana Yoga 

Incorporating modifications and variations of Kapotasana allows practitioners to personalize their practice based on their unique needs and abilities. Whether you want to make the pose easier, more challenging, or explore alternatives, these options provide a diverse range of possibilities. 

Modifications and Variations of Kapotasana

Let's explore the modifications, variations, and substitutes for Kapotasana.


  • For those finding Kapotasana challenging, using props like blankets or blocks under the buttocks can provide support and make the pose more accessible.

  • In the resting pigeon pose, utilizing blocks under the forearms or forehead allows for a gentler experience.


  • One-legged king pigeon pose is an advanced variation that intensifies the stretch and demands greater balance and stability.

  • The full version of the king pigeon pose takes the practice even further, offering a deep backbend and an increased chest and hip opening.


  • If Kapotasana doesn't suit your body or you prefer alternatives, thread and needle pose or mermaid pose are excellent substitutes that provide comparable benefits.

Remember to listen to your body and choose modifications, variations, or substitutes that align with your current physical condition and practice goals. Embrace the flexibility and adaptability of Kapotasana, and let it enhance your yoga experience.

Also Read : Hatha Yoga Poses 


Kapotasana, also known as Pigeon Pose, is a transformative yoga asana that offers numerous benefits for flexibility, hip opening, back strengthening, chest opening, and heart opening. This intermediate to advanced pose stretches the thighs, groin, back, and other muscles while strengthening the back and improving posture. It also stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck, contributing to improved overall well-being.

One of the significant advantages of Kapotasana is its adaptability. It can be modified and adjusted to suit individual needs and abilities. For those who find the pose challenging, using props such as blankets or blocks under the buttocks can provide support. Additionally, resting pigeon pose and one-legged king pigeon pose offer variations to explore.

While Kapotasana offers numerous benefits, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks and contraindications. Individuals with knee, spinal, abdominal, or hip injuries should exercise caution or modify the pose accordingly. Furthermore, those with wrist flexibility limitations should approach with care. Consulting a healthcare professional or a trained yoga instructor is always recommended before incorporating Kapotasana into a practice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Kapotasana is a Sanskrit name that means Pigeon Pose in English. It is an intermediate to advanced yoga asana that opens the hip joints, gives good stretch to the middle body and prepares the body for meditation. It is a backbend yoga pose that stretches the middle body.

To perform Kapotasana, start in a tabletop position and bring the right knee forward, placing the outer edge of the right shinbone and right buttock on the mat. Extend the left leg out behind you, with the top of the left knee, thigh, and ankle resting on the floor. Lower your pelvis and press the palms into the floor, lifting the sternum. You can progress to resting pigeon pose or one-legged king pigeon pose by folding forward or grabbing the left foot with the left hand. There are four variations of pigeon pose: pigeon pose, resting pigeon pose, one-legged king pigeon pose, and king pigeon pose.

Kapotasana preparatory poses include Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose), Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose), Virasana (Hero Pose), Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose), and Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose).

People with knee injuries, recent knee surgeries, spinal, abdominal, or hip injuries should avoid or modify Kapotasana. Those with less flexible and delicate wrists should also be careful.

Kapotasana can be modified using props such as blankets or blocks under the buttocks. Resting pigeon pose can be modified by using blocks under the forearms or forehead. Advanced practitioners can explore one-legged king pigeon pose or the full version of the king pigeon pose to challenge themselves further.

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