What is Kapotasana?
Kneeling back-bending yoga poses have been performed for centuries to make the body flexible, improve mobility, and enhance balance and coordination.
Kapotasana is one of the most important kneeling that has tremendous mental and physical benefits. The name of the asana comes from the Sanskrit words ‘kapot’ meaning pigeon and asana meaning ‘posture’. While practicing the deep-bending Pigeon Pose, your upper body is folded inversely over your lower body. This is one of the advanced yoga asanas that is said to have a great impact on the heart (Anahata), throat (Vishuddha), and the third-eye (Ajna) chakras. Kapotasana poses also positively impact the Mamsa dhatu i.e. the tissues of the muscles.
Who can perform Kapotasana?
Kapotasana poses being an advanced pose can be performed by anyone who has had proper guidance on its technique. It is especially recommended for:
- Seniors can easily perform Kapotasana with modifications if required.
- People who suffer from urinary disorders.
- People who get frequent pains or stiffness in their arms, calves, spine, thighs, arms, neck, shoulders, etc.
- Athletes who want to strengthen their leg muscles and joints for high-endurance sports.
- People who have low immunity.
- Those who suffer from high blood pressure.
- People who suffer from disorders of the lungs.
- People who feel stressed, anxious, or confused.
- Those who want to lose weight.
- Those who suffer from frequent digestive issues.
Who should avoid Kapotasana?
People with the following conditions are not advised to perform Kapotasana:
- People who suffer from severe headaches due to vision problems or migraines.
- Those who have insomnia.
- People with chronic pain in the shoulders, back, neck, arms, etc. due to injury.
- Pregnant women should not practice Kapotasana.
- People who have hypertension.
- Women who are menstruating should not perform Kapotasana.
- If you have undergone recent surgery and are yet to recuperate, you should avoid practicing Kapotasana.
- People who are suffering from fever or cold.
- People under extreme stress or anxiety.
How does Kapotasana help?
Kapotasana yoga pose has amazing long-lasting benefits on our mental and physical health. Some of the most important benefits of Kapotasana include:
- Kapotasana yoga pose helps in reducing pain and stiffness in the hips, legs, back, and shoulders.
- This is the perfect pose for opening up your hips and making them more flexible.
- This is a very effective pose to relieve sciatica pain.
- Kapotasana increases the elasticity of your spine, calf muscles, arms, shoulders, etc. This helps in improving your flexibility and range of motion that’s essential not only for exercising but also for making the smallest movements for your daily activities.
- Kapotasana helps in toning the muscles of the throat, chest, and abdomen.
- The pigeon pose helps in improving your blood circulation. This is helpful in improving the functioning of your organs and enhancing your immunity.
- Improved blood circulation through the regular practice of the pigeon pose also helps in improving your cognitive functioning. It betters your memory and prevents conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
- Pigeon pose yoga helps in improving the quality of your skin and hair and prevents premature aging.
- Pigeon pose yoga is very effective in regulating your blood pressure.
- One of the most important benefits of pigeon pose yoga is that when practiced in conjunction with pranayama yoga, it releases stress and makes you calmer. This is very beneficial for people who suffer from panic attacks, stress, impulsive behavior, etc.
- The pigeon pose helps in curing disorders of the urinary system and prevents their discomforting symptoms.
- It also makes women’s reproductive system stronger.
- Kapotasana is a very effective pose to include in kids’ yoga routines. It helps in improving their endurance and immunity and in calming their restlessness.
- Kapotasana is very effective in improving your metabolism. This helps in helping you lose weight.
- This is a great asana for people who are suffering from postural problems due to a sedentary lifestyle. Regularly practicing this asana will help in improving your posture while you are sitting, standing, walking, and even sleeping.
- Kapotasana opens up the lungs and improves their functioning. This helps in preventing shortness of breath and conditions like asthma, COPD, and other pulmonary disorders, etc.
- This asana, due to its kneeling down technique, helps you feel grounded and connected to your surroundings and people. This helps in improving your outlook towards life and interpersonal relationships.
How is Kapotasana done?
Here is a detailed explanation of Kapotasana steps that you need to follow:
- Do a warm-up session before you start practicing Kapotasana.
- It’s a good idea to do some Kapotasana preparatory poses like Eka pada Kapotasana, which is also known as Ardha Kapotasana. This will help in giving your chest, shoulders, legs, arms, etc. a light stretch before you move into the more intense Kapotasana.
- Start by getting into Ustrasana (Camel Pose).
- Inhale deeply and lift the lower part of your belly.
- Stabilize your lower back and exhale.
- Inhale and pull up your arms towards the ceiling.
- Exhale and move backward ensuring that your back is stable.
- Inhale and bend further.
- Slowly and gently lift your shoulders and squeeze your shoulders towards each other as you move your head backward.
- Hold this pose for at least 5-10 seconds.
- Inhale and let your arms reach the floor while you press your feet into the floor gently.
- Keep moving backward gently.
- Try making your hands meet your heels.
- Clutch the heels lightly.
- While holding your feet, squeeze the elbows towards each other and push your hips forward.
- Exhale and bend your elbows and fix them on the floor.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute. This is the purna Kapotasana pose.
- Gently release the posture while breathing normally.
- Roll on your spine and get into the Balasana (Child’s pose) before you resume your normal position.
- Do this yoga Kapotasana pose 2-3 times, 1-2 times in a day.
What are some tips for practicing Kapotasana safely?
Being an advanced-level pose, there are some things that you need to know before you start practicing Kapotasana. These include:
- Never start performing this asana without learning the techniques from an experienced trainer. One wrong stretch may result in serious injuries to your limbs or muscles.
- Never overstretch your limbs while performing this asana. If you start feeling pain anytime while doing Kapotasana, stop immediately.
- Start slowly with this asana and build the repetitions gradually. Doing too much too soon may result in serious injuries.
- If you are a beginner or a senior, you can use the support of a wall to do this asana. You can also use folded blankets or a yoga block to support your movements.
- Practice this asana in the early morning hours i.e. between 4-6 am. This is when the distractions are less, your mind is fresher, and your stomach and bowels are empty.
- Perform Kapotasana in a clean and airy space. Make sure that there are no sharp-edged objects around you to avoid injuries.
- It’s best to avoid performing Kapotasana if you have suffered an injury especially in your back, legs, shoulders, wrists, etc. Let yourself heal first before you start practicing this asana.
- If you have recently undergone surgery, avoid practicing Kapotasana till you have recuperated.
- Always get out of this asana position very gently avoiding sudden jerks to your muscles.
- To avoid feelings of anger and palpitations, don’t practice this asana when you are excessively stressed or fatigued.