Crow or crane pose, which is called bakasana in Sanskrit, is one of the first arm balances learned by yoga students. Crow pose strengthens the arms, wrists, and abdominal muscles. It also stretches the upper back and the groin.
3 Moves that facilitate Crow Pose:
- Deep Yoga Squat: (a) Stand with feet hip-distance apart. (b) Rise onto your tiptoes, and hold your arms straight out in front of you. (c) Slowly lower your body into a deep squat, until your thighs are parallel to the floor. (d) Return to standing.
- Reverse Squat: (a) Start with feet planted on the floor, turned out, and slightly wider than hip-distance. (b) Descend into a deep yoga squat until your butt is nearly touching the ground. Use a blanket or weighted bag to anchor your hands onto the floor. (c) Slowly straighten your legs, lowering your head to look between your knees. (d) Lower your back portion into a squat.
- Modified crow: (a) Get into a deep yoga squat, toes slightly turned out, and heels on the ground. (b) With your arms between your knees, plant your hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart, elbows pulled in near the sides of your body. (c) Pull shoulders away from ears. (d) Transition onto the balls of your feet, lifting your butt into the air. (e) Walk your feet in closer to your body, until you can fit your knees into the spaces created by your armpits on both sides. (f) Lift one foot off the ground, and then return it to the mat. Repeat on the opposite side.
Steps to perform Crow Pose:
- Come into a low squat with your heels lifted and your feet hip-width apart. Place your elbows on the inside of your knees, in the flat surface just above the bend of the knee. Push your elbows out and lift your hands up so that the palms of the hands are facing forward.
- Lean gently forward and place your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart in front of you, and not below your shoulder. Don’t jump into this position! Keep your head lifted.
- Shift your weight forward and pull up your sitting bones then place your knees on your triceps. Squeeze or snuggle your inner thighs against the sides of your torso, burrow your shins into your upper arms.
- Gaze forward. If you try to look down at your hands or back at your feet, you may lose your balance. Lift one foot off the ground, then the other. Take 5 deep breaths in this position.
- Now gently place your feet back on the floor one at a time. Start with holding the pose for one second, and keep moving your way up, second by second as you build up strength. Take time to rest your wrists.
Benefits of Crow Pose
- Mental benefits: Crow Pose is an arm balance that challenges you to focus on lifting versus falling. You are supporting your weight on your hands, and that requires you to face the fear of face planting into the floor. Crow Pose encourages body awareness and it hones the mind-body connection when the body is in air. It is the perfect balance of holding on and letting go.
- Physical benefits: It strengthens the shoulders, arms, and wrists as we push the weight of our lower body towards your shoulders. It also improves the strength of your overall upper body as well as tones your abdominal organs, which assists with indigestion and lower back pains. The pose stretches the upper back, helps decrease heartburn and acidity, and increases the flexibility and elasticity of the spine.
- Spiritual Benefits: Crow Pose fosters inner focus and concentration in the present. This pose is a symbol of justice and longevity. It strengthens the sacral chakra, also known as the second chakra. In time, Crow Pose connects us with our feelings, emotions, and creative energy.