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Flying Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Galavasana)

Flying Pigeon Pose, or Eka Pada Galavasana in Sanskrit, is an advanced arm balance pose that combines strength, balance, and flexibility. It challenges practitioners to integrate deep hip opening with arm balancing, requiring both physical strength and mental focus. This pose is named after the sage Galava from ancient Indian mythology, known for his mastery of yoga and spiritual knowledge.

Flying Pigeon Pose

The name Eka Pada Galavasana translates from Sanskrit as:

  • Eka Pada: One Leg

  • Galavasana: Named after Sage Galava

Together, Eka Pada Galavasana refers to the posture where one leg is lifted and extended while balancing on the arms, resembling a flying pigeon.

Eka Pada Galavasana is pronounced as:

  • Eh-ka Puh-duh Guh-luh-vuh-suh-nuh

Anatomy of Flying Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Galavasana)

Understanding the anatomy involved in Flying Pigeon Pose helps in executing the pose correctly and safely:

Muscle Groups Engaged

  • Core: Engages to stabilize the torso and support the weight of the body.

  • Arms: Biceps, triceps, deltoids, and forearm muscles work to maintain arm balance.

  • Hip Flexors: Engage to lift and support the extended leg, while external rotators of the hip assist in opening the hip joint.

  • Leg Muscles: Quadriceps and hamstrings are active to extend and straighten the lifted leg.

Joint Involvement

  • Wrists: Bear weight and require strength and flexibility to support the upper body.

  • Shoulders: Stabilize the arm balance and support the weight distribution.

  • Hips: Flexibility in the hip flexors and strength in the external rotators facilitate the pose.

Flying Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Galavasana): Steps / Instructions

  1. Begin in Downward Facing Dog: Start in Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), with hands shoulder-width apart and feet hip-width apart.

  2. Lift One Leg: Inhale, lift one leg (let's say the right leg) high into the air behind you, coming into Three-Legged Dog.

  3. Bring Knee to Triceps: Exhale, bend the lifted knee and bring it towards the outside of the right triceps (upper arm), aiming to place the knee as high up on the arm as possible.

  4. Shift Weight Forward: Lean slightly forward, shifting your weight onto your hands while keeping the core engaged.

  5. Hook Foot Around Upper Arm: Begin to hook your right foot around the upper right arm, aiming to eventually place the foot behind the upper arm near the armpit.

  6. Engage Core and Lift: Engage your core muscles strongly. Press firmly into your hands and lift your hips higher, preparing to lift the back foot off the mat.

  7. Lift Back Leg: With control and strength, begin to lift your left leg off the mat, straightening it out behind you.

  8. Balance and Hold: Maintain a steady gaze (drishti) and hold the pose, finding balance on your hands while keeping both legs active and engaged.

  9. Release and Repeat: After holding for several breaths, gently release the pose and return to Downward Facing Dog. Repeat on the other side.

Flying Pigeon Pose

When to Do It

Flying Pigeon Pose is best practiced when your body is warm and limber, making it suitable for intermediate to advanced yoga sessions. Avoid practicing immediately after eating to ensure comfort and stability.

Preparatory Poses

Prepare your body for the Flying Pigeon Pose with these poses:

  • Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana): Opens the hips deeply and prepares them for the hip flexion and external rotation required in Flying Pigeon.

  • Hip Openers: Such as Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana) and Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana) to further open the hip flexors and external rotators.

  • Core Strengtheners: Like Boat Pose (Navasana) and Plank Pose (Phalakasana) to strengthen the core muscles needed for stability.

Follow-Up Poses

After practicing Flying Pigeon Pose, integrate these poses to stretch and balance the body:

  • Forward Folds: Such as Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) to release tension in the lower back and hamstrings.

  • Twists: Such as Seated Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana) to further enhance spinal flexibility and release.

  • Hip Openers: Continued hip opening poses like Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) to maintain and deepen hip flexibility.


Flying Pigeon Pose is connected to the Svadhisthana Chakra, also known as the Sacral Chakra. Located in the lower abdomen, this chakra governs creativity, sensuality, and emotional balance. Practicing Eka Pada Galavasana can help balance and activate this chakra, promoting emotional stability and creativity.

Sacral Chakra

Mantra for This Pose

A suitable mantra to enhance your practice of Flying Pigeon Pose is: “Vam” (pronounced as Vahm)

Chanting the mantra "Vam" resonates with the qualities of the Sacral Chakra, promoting creativity, emotional balance, and flexibility during your practice.


Alignment Cues

  • Core Engagement: Maintain strong engagement of the core muscles throughout the pose to stabilize the torso and support the arm balance.

  • Arm Position: Keep the arms shoulder-width apart and press firmly into the mat with your fingertips to distribute weight evenly.

  • Hip Opening: Focus on deep hip flexion and external rotation to hook the foot securely around the upper arm.

  • Gaze: Maintain a steady gaze (drishti) either forward or slightly upward to help maintain balance and concentration.

Duration of Hold

Hold Flying Pigeon Pose for 5-10 breaths initially, gradually increasing the duration as your strength and balance improve. Focus on maintaining proper alignment and breathing deeply throughout the hold.


Your drishti (gaze) in Flying Pigeon Pose can be directed forward or slightly upward to help maintain balance and concentration. A steady gaze helps stabilize the mind and enhance focus during the pose.

Physical & Spiritual Awareness

Physical Awareness

  • Core and Arm Strength: Focus on engaging and strengthening the core and arm muscles throughout the pose.

  • Breath: Maintain steady, deep breathing to support endurance and concentration.

  • Alignment: Pay attention to alignment cues to prevent strain and maximize the benefits of the pose.

Spiritual Awareness

  • Svadhisthana Chakra Activation: Connect with the energy of the Sacral Chakra to enhance creativity, emotional balance, and flexibility.

  • Mind-Body Connection: Cultivate mindfulness by synchronizing your breath with movement, deepening your practice.

Beginners’ Tips

  • Build Hip Flexibility: Develop hip flexibility with regular hip opening poses to prepare for the deep hip flexion required in the Flying Pigeon Pose.

  • Strengthen Core: Practice core strengthening exercises to build the stability and strength needed for arm balance.

  • Use Props: Place a blanket under your head or use a block under your hands for additional support and stability until you gain confidence in the pose.

Who Should Not Do It

  • Wrist or Shoulder Injuries: Individuals with acute or chronic wrist or shoulder issues should avoid Flying Pigeon Pose or practice with caution.

  • Beginners: Those new to yoga or arm balancing should build a strong foundation in basic poses before attempting Flying Pigeon.

Who Should Do It

  • Experienced Yogis: Those with a solid understanding of arm balances and hip flexibility seeking to challenge themselves.

  • Athletes: Individuals looking to enhance upper body strength, core stability, and balance.

  • Yoga Enthusiasts: Practitioners interested in advancing their practice and exploring deeper levels of physical and mental focus.

Benefits of Flying Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Galavasana)

Physical Benefits

  • Hip Flexibility: Deeply stretches and opens the hip flexors and external rotators.

  • Core Strength: Strengthens the abdominal muscles and core to maintain stability in the pose.

  • Arm Strength: Builds strength in the arms, shoulders, and wrists necessary for supporting the body weight.

  • Balance and Coordination: Enhances overall balance and coordination through the integration of hip opening and arm balancing.

Mental and Emotional Benefits

  • Focus and Concentration: Requires mental focus and concentration to maintain balance and alignment.

  • Confidence: Boosts self-confidence and inner strength as you achieve and hold a challenging pose.

  • Stress Relief: Promotes stress relief and relaxation through deep breathing and mind-body connection.

Variations of Flying Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Galavasana)

Advanced Variations

  • Bound Variation: Clasp hands behind the back in Flying Pigeon to deepen the chest and shoulder opening.

  • Extended Leg Variation: Extend the back leg straight behind you to challenge balance and deepen hip flexion.

Simplified Variations

  • Supported Flying Pigeon: Use a block under the hands or a blanket under the head for additional support and stability.

  • Knee Bent Variation: Keep the back knee bent on the mat to reduce intensity and focus on hip opening.

Modifications for Flying Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Galavasana)

  • Use of Props: Utilize props such as yoga blocks or a folded blanket under the hips or head for support and stability.

  • Half-Flying Pigeon: Instead of lifting the back leg fully, keep the toes on the mat to lessen the intensity while still practicing the hip opening and arm balance aspects of the pose.

Common Mistakes

  • Lack of Core Engagement: Failing to engage the core can lead to instability and difficulty in holding the pose.

  • Rounded Back: Allowing the back to round can strain the lower back. Maintain length in the spine by engaging the core and lifting through the chest.

  • Over-Gripping with Hands: Gripping the mat too tightly can cause tension in the arms and shoulders. Focus on pressing down evenly through the palms and fingertips.

  • Hip Placement: Placing the hip too far forward or backward can affect balance. Aim to stack the hip directly over the supporting arm.

  • Not Breathing: Holding the breath disrupts the flow of energy and stability. Remember to breathe deeply and evenly throughout the pose.

Safety and Precautions

  • Warm-Up: Always warm up thoroughly before attempting Flying Pigeon Pose to prepare the muscles, joints, and mind for the challenge.

  • Avoid Injury: Listen to your body and avoid forcing the pose. Gradually work towards the full expression of the pose as your strength and flexibility improve.

  • Consultation: If you have any existing hip, wrist, or shoulder injuries, consult with a qualified yoga instructor or healthcare professional before attempting Flying Pigeon Pose.

Additional Preparation Tips

Direction to Face While Doing This Pose and Why

Face towards a clear, open space where you have sufficient room to extend the legs and maintain balance. Facing forward helps in maintaining focus and alignment, aiding in the integration of mind-body awareness during the pose.

What to Wear for This Pose

Opt for comfortable, form-fitting clothing that allows freedom of movement. Yoga pants or leggings with a fitted top are ideal to ensure ease of movement without distractions.

Suitable Place and Essential Oil or Fragrance

Practice Flying Pigeon Pose in a quiet and spacious area free from distractions. Consider using essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus to promote relaxation and enhance focus during your practice. These scents can create a calming atmosphere that complements the physical and mental challenges of the pose.

Music for This Pose

Choose soothing instrumental music or ambient sounds to accompany your practice of Flying Pigeon Pose. Gentle melodies and rhythms can help maintain concentration, deepen relaxation, and support a serene ambiance conducive to yoga practice.

Flying Pigeon Pose, Eka Pada Galavasana, invites you to explore the integration of strength, balance, and flexibility. As an advanced arm balance and hip opener, it challenges both the physical body and the mind, fostering resilience, focus, and inner strength.

Happy yoga-ing!


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Jul 07
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I am a pommel horse gymnast . And this pose helped me a lot. I love your take on this pose. I can definitely say this has helped me a lot to get better . Breathing technique is spot on. Thanks.

Replying to

Thank you! I'm glad to hear that the pose and breathing technique have positively impacted your gymnastics practice. Keep striving! Namaste 🙏💜

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About the Author

Namaste! I'm Pooja Chauhan

RYT 200Hrs | Meditation Coach 

Diving deep into the realm of yoga to revive its original teachings to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing them with the world.

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