A great source for Yoga Postures by Mark Giubarelli.
Salamba Raja Kapotasana
Translation: Supported King Pigeon Pose
This pose can be entered from a number of different postures. In Lotus or half Lotus one leg can simply be taken behind the body. From Downward Dog or One leg Downward Dog the knee can simply be placed on the mat. From the Cat Tilt or Child pose take one knee forward.
Bring one knee forward and to the edge of the mat. Take the foot of the bent leg forward to stretch the knee also. Stretch the other leg back. Lengthen through the inside of the leg all the way to the big toe.
Place the hands on the mat in front of the leading leg for an easier pose. Place the hands under the hips for a slightly harder pose. (You can place the finger tips on the mat for a better stretch around the shoulders). Whatever you decide to do the force of this arm pressure will reduce the pressure on the hip. This may be done for relief or for balance.
The hands can be stretched above the head or you can use them if you decide to bend the back leg and hold it in the advanced version of this pose which id called Raja Kapotasana. See a flow with Pigeon pose for your Home yoga practice.
This is a hip stretch but can also stretch the muscles of the knee in the leading leg. The lower back is also stretched. The major muscle that is stretched here is the glutues maximus but other muscles are also stretched such as the glutues minimus, piriformis, the orbturator internus with is part of the pelvic mat, the superior gemellus, inferior gemellus and the gluteus minimus. The quadratus femoris a big muscle that is behind the hip and femur is also stretched.
Knee muscle really prevent the stretch from deepening. These are the popliteus which wraps around the tibia and inserts in the femur at the inner part of the end of the bone. Close the that on the outside of the knee is the arcuate popliteal ligament and the lateral collateral ligament of the knee and the medial collateral ligament.
These bind the Fibula and femur together at the outer part of the knee joint. These are also stretched along with the knees internal ligaments.
See printable home yoga sequences with this yoga pose and more an example of another yoga sequences using Pigeon Pose.
If you have knee injuries such as damage to the meniscus, ligaments or tendons lift the hip of the leg that is behind you slightly. See free yoga sequences with Pigeon pose.
Vinyasa Yoga postures to transition from and to:
Yoga Teacher Tips
A wonderful resting pose after a hard standing sequence of standing postures or Sun Salutations.
“When lines of force feel straight they usually are. In this pose there is a straight line through the arms all the way up to the toes of the raised leg.”