Yoga Stretching Exercises for Flexibility – Great for Beginners – #6

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KAPOTASANA (pigeon pose)
Kapotasana is one of the more intense and challenging backbends taught, but if you learn to practice properly, it doesn’t have to be unpleasant to learn. Before even attempting this posture, you want to be thoroughly warmed up, and you should be competent in Ustrasana Pose and full wheel pose as well. This posture is essentially Ustrasana Pose taken one step further.

There are many different ways to get in and out of this posture, but the way I’ll teach you is the most comfortable and least extreme. Follow these steps:

1) Knees apart hips width
2) Hands on hips, pressing forward
3) Hips forward as far as you can, drop your head back
4) Take your hands to a prayer position at your throat
5) Legs strong, reach your hands to your ears, then extend all the way straight
6) Hang and breathe for as long as possible

*optional next steps*

7) Take your hands to the floor (legs strong)
8) Press into your hands and try to straighten through the arms for 5 breaths
9) Walk your hands to your feet, take your heals, and lower your elbows to the floor
10) Reverse your way out of it

You have to train yourself, “lower body strong, upper body soft.” It’s one of the most important principals of this posture and many other drop-back style backbends. In order to find freedom and flexibility in your chest and shoulders in particular, you have to consciously release those areas.

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