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Strike a Yoga Pose: King Pigeon

It's so important to include backbends in your stretching routine. Not only do they increase flexibility in your spine and neck, but they also stretch your abs, hip flexors, shoulders, and chest. This pose is a combination of Bow and Cobra and it's one of my favorites.

Sanskrit Name: Raja Kapotasana
English Translation: King Pigeon Pose
Also Called: Cobra Bow

Want to know how to get into it? Then


  • Lie on your belly. Bring your legs together so your knees are touching. Extend your arms straight out in front of you.
  • Begin to slowly walk your hands toward your torso, keeping your hips and thighs on the ground, but gently arching your lower back, coming into Cobra. Walk them in as far as you can, keeping your elbows slightly bent. Actively roll your shoulders back and down away from your ears, elongating your neck.
  • Bend your knees and lower your head between your shoulder blades. Work on touching your toes to your head.
  • Stay here, opening through your chest, and take five deep breaths. Then slowly lower your chest back to the ground.
Join The Conversation
Nellllll Nellllll 8 years
I love this stretch.. it's sooooo beautiful..
alba1 alba1 8 years
this is my fav stretch
Fitness Fitness 8 years
plus_2_kid, you're right, there is a hip opener with a similar name: One-Legged King Pigeon. Many instructors shorten it to King Pigeon.
plus_2_kid plus_2_kid 8 years
Interesting -- that pose is completely different from the one that I know as King Pigeon, which is more of a hip opener.
Advah Advah 8 years
I was ridiculously far from touching my head with my toes, and even got toe-muscle cramps, but that was fun! I started my Ashtanga class last week and it made SUCH a difference from day one, I'm super excited to try all those poses!
michlny michlny 8 years
Wow! That looks fabulous!! Wonder if my feet can touch my head???
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