Rajkapotasana (pigeon pose)
1. Start off on your fours, making sure your knees are placed right under your hips, and your hands a little ahead of your shoulders.
2. Now, gently slide your right knee forward, such that it is just behind your right wrist. While you do this, place the right shin under your torso, and bring your right foot in front of your left knee. The outsides of your right shin must rest on the floor.
3. Slowly, slide your left leg to the back. Straighten your knee, and drop the front of your thighs to the floor. Lower the outsides of your right buttocks on the floor. Place your right heels in front of your left hip.
4. You can angle your right knee towards the right, such that it is outside the line of the hip.
5. Your left leg should extend itself straight out of the hip. Make sure it is not angled to the left. Rotate it inwards, such that its mid line is pressed against the floor. Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, bend your left leg at the knees. Then, push your torso back and stretch as much as you can so that your head touches your foot.
6. Lift your arms up, gently folding them at your elbows. Use your hands to bring your foot towards your head.
7. Maintain the upright position of your pelvis. Push it down. Then, lift the lower rims of your rib cage against the pressure of the thrust. To lift up your chest, push the top of your sternum straight up and towards the ceiling.
8. Stay in this position for at least a minute. Bring your hands back to the floor and drop your left knee down. Gently slide the left knee forward. Exhale and come up to the Adho Mukha Svanasana. Take a few breaths. Then, come back on your fours and breathe. As you exhale, do the asana with your left leg forward and right leg at the back.
Note: While holding, maintain normal breathing.
Benefits: It helps to stretch the entire lower body. It massages the abdominal organs, thereby improving digestion. It relieves back problems, especially sciatica. It also strengthens the back. It helps to add a whole lot of flexibility to the hip area and opens up the hips. The deep stretch relieves the body of stress and anxiety. It helps to open up the chest and strengthen the groin. It also improves the functioning of the urinary and reproductive systems.