Ever wondered what goes through a yogi's mind in a so-called 'advanced' pose? Harriet fills us in on her internal ramblings in King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana).
normal pigeon SO juicy. let’s just hang here a moment first- is my knee wide enough? is my foot flexed? is my back leg straight? i should definitely turn and check - ok a little bit closer to the centre line of my body. sweet ok. feeling comfy here. let’s fold for a bit before we try and tackle the whole pose. inhale, fingertips, stretch the front of my body, look up but don’t collapse my neck into my shoulders, engage mula bandha. exhale, walk fingers away and lower my torso. why does this always feel so good? ooh good. dinner would be good. and chocolate. wait, come back to the pose. come back to the breath.
let’s just stay this way all day. could my neck be more comfortable? maybe i need a block or hand pillow situation. how’s my knee? ankle? are my hips square? all feeling good, but maybe just a phew tiny tweaks to coax that left hip back and down a little. oh, right, breathe a more deeply here. relax your jaw. chill. chill.
ok, let’s go for it. rise up slowly on an inhale. firm left hand on the floor, use right leg muscle to lift my foot and reach back for it with my right hand. don’t rush don’t rush don’t rush. i’m gonna open that thigh a little here and draw my foot towards my butt. can my heel touch my butt today? hehehehehehe that looks crazy /hilarious / i hope i still have connective tissue in my 80s. ok let’s checklist this. Hips open, thigh open, core engaged. face forwards again and reach back for my right foot with my right hand. gonna flip my grip and grab my toes. tweak hips and shoulders to face forward more squarely. breathe. inhale, exhale, engage core. squeeze thighs, squeeze bandhas. engage engage engage. remember what emma* said, squeeze up and let the lift come from the hips. remember what jodie* said and lift up and back from the roof of my mouth. reach back with my left hand and grip my toes. squeeze squeeze squeeze thighs. draw ribs in. squeeze elbows in towards in other. ok sweet i’ve got my foot, my grip is flipped. i could totally stay here. let’s stay here a moment.
this feels about a billion times better that the first time I was here. wow what a long way this has come. ok phew. i’m just gonna put my head into my foot, i’m totally just gonna do it. inhale engage engage engage squeeze thighs, core, bandhas, draw my shoulders down and chin in and up. exhale keep everything engaged and pull on my hand to draw my foot and head together. trust trust trust your foot is there. am i collapsing into my lower back?? tighter legs tighter core stronger shoulders engage engage engage HOLY CRAP I’M TOTALLY DOING IT. I’M THE MOST AMAZING PIGEON IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE.
release slowly woman. no slingshotting please. let’s look we’re floating. glide through the air like a graceful pigeon. graceful pigeon? that sounds weird. let’s ponder than conundrum when you’re out of this pose, ok?
inhale. exhale. release foot and let it float back to the floor. slowly straighten spine. place hands on the floor and so slowly you’re like treacle step back to downward dog. this feels good. gosh I’m sweaty and hungry. FOOD. oh wait. breathe. breathe. breathe.
child’s pose and chill.
*two much beloved past teachers