In my short introduction to Chakras, I have explained the workings of the human energy system and the function of the seven chakras. In this article, we will discover together the Kapotasana asana, a yogic posture that opens, strengthens, and balances our sacral chakra.
Among the 7 traditional chakras, Svadhisthana, or sacral chakra, is the second energy in our body. It is located just below the navel. This chakra is related to our sexuality, emotions, and creativity. Svadisthana is connected to the element of Water; it allows us to flow with the changing currents of life.
When Svadhisthana is out of balance, we may feel emotionally unstable, and unable to have intimate relationships with others. Our creative drive may be blocked, and moving comfortably through life might feel near impossible.
In our physical body, Svadhisthana is linked to our reproductive organs and pelvic area. Tightness and heaviness in the hips and lower back may be a result of unresolved emotions, causing our sacral chakra to become imbalanced.
Kapotasana or Pigeon pose is the asana that helps us open and balance Svadhisthana.
Learn the Kapotasana by following these simple steps:
Begin in table pose, with your knees under your hips and wrists under your shoulders, planting your palms firmly into the mat.
Bring your right knee forward between your hands, with your shin directly under your thigh.
Slide your left leg back, and lengthen through your left leg, as you shift your weight equally over your hips.
While keeping your hands grounded on either side of your right knee, lengthen through your spine, opening your chest, and pulling up through the crown of your head.
Roll your shoulder blades down your spine once, and relax your shoulders.
If you are comfortable here in Half Pigeon, move into Full Pigeon by bringing your right knee slightly to the right, and bringing your ankle forward. This should bring your right lower leg perpendicular to the rest of your body.
Realign your pelvis, to bring your weight back equally onto both hips. Again, lengthen through the spine and open your chest.
Breathe here, and if you still want to move deeper into the posture, inhale as you lean forward. Place your hands above one another, and rest your forehead on your hands.
To move even further into the posture, extend your arms in front of you, opening your palms to the sky, and rest your forehead on the ground.
Breathe here, and feel the stretching (and possibly discomfort) in your right hip and thigh.
Try to stay in this posture for at least 10 long, stable breaths, then lift your hips up and very gently and slowly bring your right knee back, and extend your right leg back. Come back to table top, and repeat these steps on the left side.
- For beginners (first time in posture): keep spine long and erect; do not fold forward
- For knee pain: keep heel under thigh/buttock
- For hip pain: keep stretched leg bent
Benefits of Kapotasana
- Opens hip joints
- Provides a powerful stretch and opening for the buttocks and piriformis (inner hip) muscles, which can be helpful for sciatica.
- Massages digestive and reproductive organs, and is helpful for elimination
Kapotasana is a very intense hip opening posture, and you may feel extreme discomfort here. So, as long as you don’t feel pain, this posture serves to release any unresolved emotions and fears that arise from or cause the sacral chakra to malfunction. Discomfort is fine, and is also a sign that you are in fact working towards breaking your own barriers.
The key to this posture is breathing through the discomfort, and allowing whatever emotion to arise, knowing that it too shall pass. As Svadisthana is linked to water, allow your breath and mind to be fluid in this posture. Staying focused on your heart center will allow you the courage to face whatever tension is being held in your hips, and to bring it up through your spine, to transform all tension and dis-ease into Love and Light.
Mantra for Kapotasana
While performing Kapotasana pose, you repeat the following mantra: “The Radiance of the Heart touches the deepest essence of my Being.”
*Layla Habib is a Vinyasa Yoga instructor. Stay up to date with her classes by following her on facebook.com/shaktivayoga or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for private sessions.