Royal Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) is one of those hip openers that causes a lot of chatter in the mind – without a doubt. Opening all through the hips and releasing deep tension and tightness, it requires a steady amount of listening to the body and it’s truth for the day. The mind tends to wander off as a coping mechanism to deal with the deep stretch – it’s ok, you’re not the only one going through it. Whenever you play in this posture, be sure to stay with your breath – stay with your body, and stay present. Wandering monkey mind can cause injury, so definitely be with your body.
I have a deep connection with this posture. In 2011, it was my go to – everyday, no matter what was happening in my life, I came to this pose to release the tension that had built up over the course of the day from work, stress, and 10 hours in a desk chair. But in 2012, I sustained a painful hip socket tear that prevented me from even thinking about this posture. The pain was so deep, sitting in my desk chair for more than an hour would make it nearly impossible to walk, putting both my legs to sleep and my hip joint into a sort of locked position… it was rather unpleasant. After hip surgery in 2013 (which repaired the destroyed cartilage and reshaped my destructive femur) I was sure it would take me forever to make my way back into this profoundly deep and releasing posture.. so much energy was invested in this belief that I was almost derailed and disheartened. Every time I tried, all I could think of was scar tissue.
But this is part of the practice, and I came back to it time and again to keep trying. Keep searching. Keep exploring. With every attempt, I was able to hear more clearly the conversation happening between my breath, muscles, and mind. Scar tissue started to disappear from my hips vocabulary and was slowly replaced with release, better, progress, joy. Though it’s still a challenge and – as with anything – some days are far more fluid than others, I can happily say I’ve found that royal posture once again. It can always be more open and more connected – we can never be done with a posture. It’s not an easy posture, but it is absolutely a blissful one and I’m happy to call this version my work in progress. As you make your way into it, be patient. It requires practice, compassion, and a lot of breath to get into this deep opener, but the light and power received in the heart is unmatched. Don’t be discouraged – be inspired as you listen to the tales from the hips.
Because we’ll always be royals (eat your heart out Lorde… 🙂
For a tutorial from one of my favorite inspirational sites – DoYogaWithMe.com – go HERE!!
Modifications include – Upside down pigeon or Spiraling Pigeon