I love Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (a.k.a Half Pigeon)! It is a great hip opener, working on both the outer hips and the hip flexors.
Getting into the pose
The traditional shape of this pose is quite tricky to achieve as it involves some serious back arching skills! But this variation is accessible to most of us and, as it is a forward fold, it has a calming effect, which is a bonus!
1 – From a table top position, bring your right foot forward and across on your mat, so your knee is behind your right wrist. Keep your right foot flexed.
2 – Slide your back foot away towards the end of the mat, bringing your hips down towards the floor.
3 – It’s important to keep your hips in line with each other, but if they are tight, it’s likely you won’t be able to bring your right hip all the way down, or in order to do that you may lift the left. To address this you can put a support under your right hip. Ps.: Use something soft, like a blanket, jumper etc instead of a yoga block, as this will allow your hips to release as you become more flexible.
4 – Inhale to lengthen your spine and as you exhale, slowly, walk your hands forward, placing your forearms down. Stay here for a couple of breaths to allow your hips to release a little more.
5 – Then, rest your head down. But be aware that if your hips are high you won’t be able to bring the head to the floor without creating an arch in your neck. You can support your forehead with a block or by simply stacking your fists on top of each other.
6 – Stay here between 30 seconds to a minute. Keep your shoulders away from the ears, and relax.
7 – Repeat on the other side.