Adho Mukha Kapotasana

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Adho Mukha Kapotasana Mean?

Adho mukha kapotasana is an intermediate hip opener that improves flexibility and prepares the body for more challenging asanas in the kapotasana and rajakapotasana series. The name comes from the Sanskrit, adho, meaning “down”; mukha, meaning “face”; kapota, meaning “pigeon”; and asana, meaning “pose” or “posture.”

This asana is a half split with one leg stretched back so the top of the foot presses into the mat and the other leg bends in front with the calf resting on the ground. The torso folds over the front leg, while the head and outstretched arms rest on the mat.

In English, adho mukha kapotasana is known as downward-facing pigeon pose.

Adho Mukha Kapotasana


Yogapedia Explains Adho Mukha Kapotasana

In addition to its physical benefits, adho mukha kapotasana draws the focus inward, both stilling and opening the mind.

Traditionally, adho mukha kapotasana is believed to open the svadisthana (spleen/sacral) chakra, which is associated with intimacy, enjoyment and creation. A healthy svadisthana chakra ensures self-acceptance and comfort in relationships.

Considered a variation of the more advanced utthita eka pada rajakapotasana (extended one-legged king pigeon pose), adho mukha kapotasana prepares the yogi physically and mentally for seated asanas such as padmasana (lotus), baddha konasana (bound angle) and agnistambhasana (fire log). It also prepares the yogi for backbending poses like dhanurasana (bow), ustrasana (camel) and bhujangasana (cobra), in addition to the rajakapotasana (king pigeon) series of asanas.

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