Definition - What does Kapotasana mean?
Kapotasana is a deep backbend asana that has a number of physical and spiritual benefits. The name is derived from the Sanskrit kapota, meaning "pigeon," and asana, meaning "pose" or "posture." It is also said that the name was inspired by the great yogic master, Kapota.
This asana is performed by kneeling down with the legs not quite touching. The shoulders and head bend backward while the hips remain in place. With the assistance of the hands, if necessary, the body bends until the forearms and shins rest on the floor.
Kapotasana is known in English as pigeon pose.
Yogapedia explains Kapotasana
Kapotasana is one of the most challenging asanas in yoga, as it requires great flexibility and a willingness to overcome the natural fear that accompanies bending over backward so deeply. As with many of the most advanced backbend asanas, this requires the practitioner to face their aversion to pain or discomfort.
Once in this asana, the yogi should feel a sense of harmony. Over time, they can use kapotasana to achieve a better understanding of how their body works and how everything is connected within it. In spiritual practice, this pose creates better channels for the flow of prana (life force). In a more advanced state, this asana allows the practitioner to let their tensions flow out and feel linked to the universe on a more spiritual level.
This asana can be modified to better suit the needs and flexibility of the individual. Experienced yogis can put their head on the ground next to their feet, but those who are at a less advanced level can aim to gradually build up that sort of flexibility over time.
Kapotasana is one of a series of related backbend postures that vary in difficulty, including eka pada rajakapotasana (one-legged king pigeon pose) and eka pada kapotasana (one-legged pigeon pose).