This week’s asana: Eka Pada Rajakapotasana II.
Otherwise known as: One-Legged King Pigeon Pose Two.
There are any number of yoga poses that my body simply can’t do, but there are very few poses I can do in which I notice myself thinking, “I don’t think I can bear this!” or, “When will this be over?” (This may be familiar to some of you as the “I’m going to move… I’m going to open my eyes…” moments of meditation practice….)
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana is one of my top agony poses. Yes, I’m doing the pose correctly. And I know I’m not going to injure myself in any way. I know that the sensation isn’t actually what I would describe as painful; it’s just really, really intense. Burning. Every time, I have to actively relax and coach myself inwardly to be able to stay in the pose. Every single time.
Yup, two of my teachers in classes this week taught EPR-II as a centerpiece pose — it must be the week for pigeon variations — so I’ve had plenty of time, thanks, to revisit and observe my extreme dislike of this relatively straightforward asana.
It’s a cousin of various other poses that I somewhat enjoy or at least don’t loathe. I can do the variation with the shin of the back leg at the wall just fine, without the same level of intensity. My quads quite like low lunges and even Virasana (Hero Pose) in all its guises…. And I can fly along just fine with the basic pigeons. Yet it’s always a surprise how much I burn in EPR-II. Like I think it’s going to be different, and then there it is again.
So why do it? Because I don’t understand it yet, why it should be so consistently and dramatically unpleasant. I dislike it enough to find it a really interesting challenge. It’s a unique sensation, and a curious experience. Strange but true, I guess that’s what makes me a yoga geek.
Time for a little one-legged king pigeon in the home practice this week? Maybe.