Kapotasana (Pigeon pose) is one of the most beautiful poses that almost every student dreams of fulfilling. About how to achieve the cherished goal, said Barbara Benag.
Thirty years ago, when my acquaintance with yoga was just beginning, I was advised to purchase the book B.K.S. Iyengar "Clearing Yoga." This asanas textbook was replete with photographs of the guru himself, performing poses I did not even suspect existed. The book was a real revelation for me. I remember, I thought: "This is real yoga!" Full of determination, I was ready to do anything to effectively perform the most difficult asana! Alas, despite the efforts, the results left much to be desired. At that time, I did not understand well what the correct technique was, which is why I often overexerted and the matter often ended in injuries. Today I assess the situation differently and understand that I tried to jump above my head. Therefore, I constantly urge students to remember Vinyasa Krama. The word "vinyasa" is often understood as a smooth transition from one pose to another, but this definition is rather narrow. "Vinyasa" means "place in a certain way." And "krama" - steps or steps. Vinyasa-krama is how you build your practice: how much you listen to the sensations in the body, how much you are ready to slow down when you feel that you are not able to perform this or that asana. By following the sequence described below, without rushing or straining, you will learn to use your breathing and sensations in the body as a vehicle. Thanks to this, the practice of asanas will become much more effective, and inside you as if something would awaken. In the end, you realize that there is no shortcut, and it is not needed, for true joy lies in the journey itself.
Before you get started
At the beginning of practice, for several minutes, calmly sit with your eyes closed in any asana that is convenient for you and watch your breathing. In order not to overstrain the muscles in the deflections, it is necessary to perform postures to open the shoulder girdle, stretch the thigh muscles, lengthen the spine and strengthen the abdomen. I usually recommend Anjaneasanu (pose of the month) with arms extended above the head, Virabhadrasanu I (pose of Warrior I), Paripurna Navasana (pose of Boat), Supta Virasanu (Hero posture) Pincha Mayurasanu (Forearm), and twisting. To back muscles become soft, you can lie on a bolster located along the mat for 5-10 minutes. Lower your back on the support so that your head, neck and shoulders are on the floor, and extend your arms behind your head. Then change the position: move towards the head so that the lower edges of the shoulder blades touch the upper part of the bolster. Relax your arms and lower your shoulders. Each deflection in vinyasa is more complicated than the previous one. Performing asanas, imagine how the pose looks from the side, and at the same time feel the internal flow of energy. With the correct execution of the deflection, an energy circle is formed in the body - a kind of wheel that rotates in one place. In this case, the muscles become softer, and the arch becomes deeper and more “alive”. It should be borne in mind that until you learn how to feel the energy circle in simple flexures, it is unlikely to be able to feel it in complex poses.
Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Despite the fact that this asana is referred to as simple deflection, it requires both flexibility and strength of the spine. Start with a variation. Lie on your stomach and lower your forehead to the floor. Spread the feet to the width of the pelvis. Stretch your arms in front of you and spread your palms towards each other, spreading them shoulder-width apart. Press the outer edges of la-do-her to the floor. Right-look at the tip of your nose or close your eyes. Breathe calmly and evenly. Point the pubis and tailbone towards the feet. Feel the energy flowing smoothly along the legs, toning the muscles and lengthening the body. Leaving the ribs of your palms on the floor and continuing to stretch your arms, with an inhalation, tear off your head and chest from the mat and bend back. As you exhale, slightly pull the lower abdomen inward and point it up towards the head - this will deepen the deflection and stabilize the lower back. In this case, the hands will slightly approach the body.
Feel the energy circulating along the arch of the deflection. As you exhale, tear off your hands from the mat and extend them parallel to the floor. To better bend in the thoracic spine, point the sternum up to the clavicles, expand the chest, feed the side ribs forward and lift them up to the head. Do not lower your head. The look is calm. Pre-wai-te in this position for 3-5 breathing cycles, then go down, fold your hands in front of you and lay your head on them. Repeat the pose one or two more times.
Place your palms on the floor on either side of the chest, placing them strictly under the shoulders. Pressing the pubis to the mat and pulling the tailbone, extend them from the navel to the side of the feet - this will help to “tie” the spine to the legs and stabilize the lower back. On inspiration, tear off your head and chest from the floor and bend back, releasing the back of the head. With a breath, draw in the lower abdomen and point it up towards the head. Keeping your eyes straight ahead, focus it on one point. Breathe calmly and evenly. Having bent as deep as possible, turn your hands into the work - push your shoulders back and point them down so that your arms almost straighten at your elbows. Proper hand work helps relieve excess tension from the back muscles, and this will improve flexibility. With each breath, bend the upper back, and exhale, draw in the lower abdomen and point it up. As soon as you feel that you are ready to move on, with an exhalation point your shoulders back and lower them down to the floor, straightening your arms at your elbows. Stay in the asana as long as the breath remains uniform and you feel the strength in you to continue. Then lower yourself to the floor, fold your hands in front of you and lay your head on them. Relax and do the asana two more times. Finally, head back, lowering the base of the skull to the tailbone. Having pulled the tailbone and directing it to the feet, imagine that you are bending on a huge ball. Lift up the sternum and lateral parts of the ribs, moving them back after the head. Lower the inside of the shoulder blades along the back to the waist to deepen the arch at the top of the spine. Leaving the pose, enter Ba la sa sa (Baby's pose). Relax and calm your breath.
Urdhwa Mukha Vajrasana (lightning bolt pose face up)
This asana is the link between the poses. Cobras and camel. It allows us to realize the stereotypical movements that we automatically perform and which interfere with the proper deflection. Sit in Vajrasana (Lightning Bolt pose). Spread your knees and feet a little more than the width of your pelvis. Lower your head and body to the floor, thus entering the pose of the Child. As in Bhujangasan, withdraw the pubis to the opposite side of the navel and the tailbone from the lumbar spine. As you inhale, bend your chest and pull your head back. Do not tear off the lower ribs from the hips. Hold this position for several breathing cycles. Expand your collarbone, turn your shoulders out and feed them back. Open the chest as much as possible by lifting the sternum up and tear off the lower ribs from the hips. As you bend, lift the hull up until you reach Urdhwa Mukha Vajrasana. Sitting in a pose, deepen the deflection. Expand your chest and lift up the side of the ribs and sternum while pulling in the lower edges of the shoulder blades. Breathe calmly and evenly. Stay in posture for several breathing cycles. Go back to Balasanuwith his head down on the floor last.
Ushtrasana (Camel pose)
Hold the pose of the Child and calm your breath. Then rise to Urdhva Mukha Vajrasana, making movements. Point your tailbone and pubis down to the floor. Notice how the groins deepen and the hips wrap inward. As you exhale, press your palms to your heels and lift your sternum up. Tear off the basin from the floor and enter Ushtrasana. Make sure your hips are perpendicular to the floor. Such an entrance to the posture allows you to properly bend the middle part of the back, without compressing the neck and lower back, as well as to avoid the incorrect position of the hips, in which they move forward. Try to feel the circular motion of energy. If it doesn’t work, mentally repeat the entire route from the Child’s pose to the Camel pose. Remember that deflection begins with the chest. While in a pose, deepen the groins. If you are not flexible enough and do not reach your heels with your palms, place a belt under your feet and grab both ends of your hands. Distribute the weight evenly between the knees and feet. On the right, the tailbone and pubis down to the knees - this stabilizes the lower back and lengthens the stomach, which, in turn, will deepen the arch. To increase the movement of energy in the upper part of the spine and without tension to tilt your head back, expand and raise the chest.
Stay in posture for several breathing cycles. Then wrap the hips inward, direct the pubis to the knees and return to Urdhva Mukha Vajrasana. Hold this position for a few seconds, and then enter child posewith his head down on the floor last. Due to the fact that, as a rule, we push our hips forward and, as a result, round our back, this sequence of movements can be difficult at first. Do not forget to direct the pubis to the heels, and lean the head back - over time, the transition from one pose to another will become easier and easier. Perform Ushtrasana this way one or two more times. Feel the circular movement of energy along the spine. If you are unable to practice the Camel pose without a belt, do not proceed with the following asanas. Also refrain from them if you feel tired, pain in the shoulders or lower back.
Preparing for Kapotasana (Pigeon pose)
Before proceeding with this variation, complete the following sequence. Enter Ushtrasana. Relax your back, release your head and front surfaces of the shoulders. Tear your hands off your feet and join your palms in front of your chest. Do not resist the force of gravity. Breathe evenly.
Let the spine flow down. Imagine it in the form of a wheel - this will help bring your head as close to your feet as possible. If breathing goes astray during a deep sag, place your palms on your feet, return to Urdhva Mukha Vajrasana, and from it to Balasanu. If you manage to stay in a pose without undue stress, feel free to go to Kapotasane.
Kapotasana (Pigeon pose)
In preparation for Kapotasana, as you exhale, slowly extend your arms behind your head and touch the floor with your palms. You can lower your head to the floor and stay in this position. Open your chest and direct your head and shoulders towards the tailbone - this will allow you to feel the energy circulating along the spine. Breathe evenly. Point the pubis and tailbone to the heels and lightly wrap your hips inward. Feel the maximum extension of the quadriceps of the thigh. Having settled in this position, exhale, straighten your arms (the head will tear off the floor) and bring your palms to your feet. Lower your head back onto the mat and take a break. Then again push your palms off the floor and straighten your arms. Move your palms even closer to your feet. Keep up the good work until you grab your feet or heels. Holding your elbows shoulder-width apart, exhale close your head to your feet and lower your elbows to the floor. Breathe evenly. Work with your legs and, opening the chest, lift it up - this will help establish energy balance in the pose and clarify the mind. To get out of the pose, place your palms on the floor on either side of the head, raise your chin and lower your head and body to the floor. If you feel the strength in yourself, go out as follows: on the exhale, open your palms and with a strong movement of the sternum, raise the body to an upright position. Then relax in Balasane.
After a set of deflections, it is imperative to perform a series of asanas that will help remove the strands from the sacrum and waistband. Staying in child pose, meditate and deepen the exhalation until the breathing calms down and you feel calm, balanced and full of strength. Then do Jathara Parivartanasana (Twisting with legs straight) and Supta Padangusthasana (Big toe Grip Position). Do not make excessive efforts - to relieve tension from the muscles, you should work half-heartedly. Before finally relaxing in Shavasan (Dead Man's pose), do Adho mukha schwanasanu (Dog pose with his face down) and Shirshasanu (Headstand). I decided to include in the sequence those asanas that, complementing each other, all together form a harmonious whole. I hope that the implementation of this complex will help you understand what vinyasa is and what is the sequence of movements when performing its asanas. It does not matter if you are not yet able to master the entire sequence. The most important thing is to realize the value of phased practice. Thanks to this, you will develop in yourself such qualities as patience, strength and wisdom. In other words, you will always know that you are on the right track.
2. Urdhva Mukha Vajrasana
Lightning Bolt Pose Face Up
4. Preparation for Kapotasana
- Revitalizes the body and mind
- Nourishes spinal tissue and cerebrospinal fluid
- Improves flexibility of the chest and upper spine
- Extends the quadriceps femoris
- Tones up abdominal organs
- Shoulder muscle injuries
- Injuries to the cervical or lumbar spine