Dove Pose - Vajra Kapotasana

Dove Pose - YanvaYoga


Dove Pose, or Vajra Kapotasana (VAHJ-rah kah-poh-TAHS-anna) is a deep and challenging backbend that tones the spine and expands the chest. From reclining Hero Pose, the practitioner places their palms near their head and straightens their arms, lifting their thighs and torso from the ground in a deep arch.
It is an advanced asana of the Ashtanga Yoga series in terms of the strength and flexibility required to get into this pose.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Begin with sitting in Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana).
Step 2
Lean on your back bringing the palms to the legs.
Step 3
Raise your arms and place your palms near your ears with fingers pointing towards the shoulders and bent elbows.
Step 4
Exhale shifting the weight to the palms.
Step 5
Stretching the arms lift the body keeping the knees to the floor.
Step 6
Further, stretch the spine and hold the toes with hands bending the elbows.
Step 7
Leaning further bring the elbows to the floor. Here, support your backbend position on the forearms.
Step 8
Stay there for a few quick breaths.
Step 9
With exhalation raise the pelvic region and gradually walk your palms towards the heels.
Step 10
Simultaneously draw your head to rest on the soles of the feet.
Step 11
Hold the pose for a few seconds.
Step 12
Exhale, release the hands from the feet, and lie on your back in supta Vajrasana.
Step 13
Gently straighten your legs and relax on the floor.

Benefits and Contraindications


Strengthens your shoulders and knees

Stretches your quadriceps and chest muscles

Increases blood circulation in your spine and head


Lower back or neck injury




Photo poses in different angles

Modifications, Props and Tips

  • If you’re finding it a challenge to be in Dove Pose and to create the bend, it’s fine to keep your hands further from your feet as you get started. Practice it with your hands and elbows further from the body. That can get you a sense of how the pose feels and how the back flexibility works. Over time you can have the hands approach the feet more closely. Always listen closely to your body. The aim is to gently stretch it without injuring it. Patience is a virtue with this pose.
  • There’s a lot of force being put down into the knees in this backbend pose. If your knees are causing you trouble for any reason, put a cushioned blanket beneath them to spread out the impact.
  • If you’re having trouble leaning back and putting weight on your wrists, instead lean back with your hands on your hips and let your elbows take the weight. Start right from the beginning having your weight on those elbows. If you’re not able to do that part, practice just with that. Practice being on your knees and carefully leaning back to rest on your elbows.

Frequently Asked Questions

Top Preparatory Pose

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.