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bird

Build up to this advanced Pigeon Pose with methodical, frequent practice, and maybe you'll fly!

by bird

MAY 2010 YOGAJOURNAL.COM 87

www.journal-plaza.net & www.freedowns.net

A video of this Master Class sequence can be found online at vogajournal.com/iivemag.

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana IV (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose IV) is a beautiful advanced-level asana. When you sec someone doing this pose, you may think you will never be flexible enough to do ityourself. Rut this version of Pigeon favors almost no one: It demands deep flexibility throughout the entire body and equal amounts of strength to keep the joints stable—and most of us can only develop this potent combination through practice. When you observe a skillful Eka Pada Rajakapotasana IV, you're witnessing the result of hours spent refining many different poses to prepare for this one.

So while it maybe true that, even with practice, you will never get into this pose, it also may not be true. Only time will tell. Regardless of the outcome, you can gradually work toward Eka Pada Rajakapotasana IV by mentally deconstructing the asana, analyzing its parts, and then creating a sequence of poses that includes the same movements you do in your "final" pose.

When you deconstruct and analyze Eka Pada IV, you'll see that the pose requires deep hip and spinal extension, supple shoulders, and a steady core. The poses in the sequence that follows

Increases hip and spinal extension

Improves shoulder flexibility

Massages lower abdominal organs and glands

Increases vitality

Develops core steadiness and focus

( contraindications )

Stiff back Lumbar or sacral injuries Rotator cuff injury Respiratory infection

1 Ayurchakrasana (Wheel of Life Pose)

In this refined twist, you can explore the hip asymmetry that also occurs in Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. Notice how your spine responds and focus on keeping both sides of the body equal in length. Feel how bending the knees stabilizes the pelvis, isolating the action in the spine. Use your core muscles to center the torso. This pose benefits from a light approach to keep the lower-back joints happy. Invite space in your spine; use your breath to coax the back muscles to relax into the twist.

2 Supine Chest Opener

Direct your attention to letting go of the muscular resistance that comes up in this pose. Mindful and steady breathing is key. Notice how your exhalations allow you to trust the bolster and fall into its support. (If the bolster feels too high and your back muscles continue to resist, you can use a rolled blanket instead.) Gently lengthen your spine to relieve compression in your neck and lower back, and you'll discover ease in the backbend. What a milestone that is! Learning how to ease tension in your upper back is also a great antidote to stress.

Easing Your Stress With Yoga

Easing Your Stress With Yoga

Have You Ever Wanted To Achieve A State Of Total Relaxation But Never Believed That Yoga Was For You? Has the stress of daily life made you tense, uptight and too wound up to be able to think clearly? If so, then you are not alone. 40 of Americans feel that their lives are too stressful and over 60 of Americans say that they find themselves in situations where they feel lost at least once a week.

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