Kapila’s Pose

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Kapila’s Pose Mean?

Kapila’s pose is an intense hip-opening seated forward bend named for the sage credited with founding the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy.

From stick pose – seated with the legs stretched straight out – one leg is lifted behind the head and across the shoulders, then the arms wrap over the leg until the hands clasp and the body folds forward from the waist.

Kapila’s pose is also known by its Sanskrit name, Kapilasana. This challenging asana is one of the postures in Ashtanga yoga’s fourth series, one of the more advanced vinyasas.

Kapila's Pose


Yogapedia Explains Kapila’s Pose

Because of the flexibility required for Kapila’s pose, yogis should master less advanced hip-openers and hamstring stretches before attempting this posture. Kapila’s pose is one of the deepest stretches in yoga for external rotation of the hips. It is also one of a series of postures in which one or both legs are placed behind the head. To develop abdominal core muscles, yogis may practice moving the leg behind the head without using their hands to help place it there.

Kapila’s pose is commonly practiced following the awakened pose, also known by the Sanskrit name, buddhasana. In this latter pose, the leg position is the same, but the yogi remains upright and places the hands in prayer position.

Yogis with knee, hip or shoulder problems should skip Kapila’s pose.

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