Bakasana or Crow Pose
baka = crane
Fun Fact: The Crow has been studied to show a high-level of intelligence for a bird, counting as high as the number six! Set this as a strong intention next time you try this posture and count out six long breaths before you take off.
- Arm / Shoulder / Core Strengthener. A lot of bang for your buck.
- Balance Builder. How inspiring, the fear of falling on your nose!
- Hand Awareness. A stepping stone to handstands.
Contraindications / Cautions
- Wrist Injury? This pose will certainly aggravate it.
- Sweat A Lot? Prepare for the frustration of slipping out of long holds.
Step by Step
Entry From Forward Fold (Beginner Variation)
- Inhale: Bend knees to place hands shoulder distance onto the floor & drop tailbone as low as it can go, lifting heels as high as possible.
- Exhale: Game face ACTIVATE. It’s go time! Spread your fingers for maximum balance, and metaphorically glue each knuckle to the floor.
- Inhale: Rotate hands slightly inward, creating a wider platform when the elbows bend. Turn feet slightly outward, opening the width of your bent knees. Keep your gaze forward and eyes high.
- Exhale: Begin to lower torso, placing knees onto the triceps (somewhere between the elbow and armpit). Keep Heels Lifted Towards Butt! This helps to engage core. Point The Toes! Keeps awareness in lift and lengthening, not collapse. Look Forward! Energy flows where the eyes go. Look down, go down.
- Continue Breathing! Try not to hold your breath during this pose. It’s about finding balance and ease, not forced structure.
Modifications & Beginner’s Tips
- Can’t Maintain Balance? Think less “hopping into the posture” and more “tilting into your hands.”
- Slipping Off The Arms? Engage and activate your inner thighs as you lean into the posture. Try to hug yourself in a weird and wonderful way.
- Still? Rotate the hands slightly more inward and the elbows out. A wider wheelbase increases stability. Make sure you don’t over rotate, as it jacks your shoulders in towards your neck and destabilizes the wrists. Tiny increments, intrepid yogi... Baby steps.
Deepen the Pose
- Tap Dance! Keep one foot lifted as you gently tap the toes of the other on the ground. Switch smoothly and with control.
- Hop In! Starting from downward dog, hop those knees into the arms. The shorter the dog, the easier the hop, so adjust accordingly.
- Straighten Those Arms! This takes the pose fully into the core and the shoulder girdle, as well as the hands and arms. It’s a big OOHandAAHasana for good reason—it’s quite challenging!
Image Credit: BeyondDrishti