Raja-kapota

Definition - What does Raja-kapota mean?

Raja-kapota is a Sanskrit term that means “king pigeon.” Raja means “king” and kapota is typically translated as “pigeon,” although it can mean “dove” or any bird in general. In the context of yoga, raja-kapota is the name of an advanced asana that provides an intense backbend. There are two related postures that are called raja-kapota or simply kapotasana, depending on the source.

One such posture begins from a kneeling position with the back arching until the forearms and forehead (or crown) touch the ground and the hands touch the feet. The body resembles a circle or a wheel. The other posture begins from a seated position with one leg stretched behind and the other in front bent at the knee and the shin resting on the ground. The back leg bends upward, while the back and neck arch, and the hands reach overhead and back to grasp the foot.

Yogapedia explains Raja-kapota

Both variations of the asana are strong chest and hip openers. In addition to their many physical benefits, raja-kapota postures calm the mind and reduce stress.

Raja-kapota asanas also activate and balance several of the chakra energy centers. As a chest opener, they activate the anahata (heart) chakra, which is associated with love, empathy, compassion and forgiveness. As a hip-opener, the asanas open the svadisthana (spleen or sacral) chakra, which is associated with creativity, sexual energy and emotional stability. Finally, as a throat opener, the asanas activate the visuddha (throat) chakra, which is associated with authentic communication and inner truth.

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