[Pose Of the Week] Dive Into Dove Pose (Advanced)

Stretch your entire body & build core & shoulder strength with Dove Pose – an advanced yoga backbend…

Dove Pose (Vajra Kapotasana) is an intermediate-to-advanced level yoga back bend pose that provides an intense stretch for both the front and back of the body.

Similar to Little Thunderbolt Pose – but with more support from the arms and shoulders – Dove Pose opens the chest and increases lung capacity, stretches the spine, improves hip flexibility, and builds core strength. It also strengthens the shoulders, and is believed to aid digestion and the pelvic organs, and stimulate the Heart, Throat, and Third-Eye chakras. This can be a very helpful pose for athletes who need to build core strength and flexibility.

Dove Pose is a deep stretch for the back, so be sure you are comfortable in gentler backbend poses such as Bow Pose, Camel Pose, and Mermaid Pose before attempting this one. You may wish to place a folded blanket under your knees for comfort. To modify the pose, practice with your hands and elbows further away from your feet. Bring your hands closer to your feet as your flexibility increases. Be patient with yourself, and always listen to your body!

Those who suffer from migraines, or who have knee, shoulder, lower back, or neck injuries or herniated discs should avoid this pose.

How to Do Dove Pose:

  1. Begin with sitting in Thunderbolt/Rock Pose.
  2. Lean all the way onto your back bringing the palms to the thighs.
  3. Raise your arms and place your palms near your ears with fingers pointing towards the shoulders and bent elbows.
  4. Exhale shifting the weight to the palms.
  5. Stretching the arms, lift the body while keeping the knees on the floor.
  6. Extend the spine stretch and bend the elbows, holding the toes with both hands.
  7. Leaning further, bring the elbows to the floor and support your backbend position on the forearms.
  8. Stay there for a few quick breaths.
  9. On an exhalation, lift the pelvic region higher and gradually walk your palms towards the heels.
  10. If possible, you can simultaneously draw your head to rest on the soles of the feet.
  11. Hold the pose for a few seconds.
  12. Exhale, release the hands from the feet, and lie on your back in Reclining Hero Pose.
  13. Gently straighten your legs and relax on the floor for a few minutes.

You may wish to follow this pose with a counter stretch such as Child’s Pose or Downward-Facing Dog Pose.

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