baka = crane
Step by Step Guide:
Crow Pose is the foundational pose for most arm balances in yoga. Though it may seem tricky, Crow can be fun when you get the hang of it.
The Sanskrit name for this pose, “Bakasana” (bah-KAHS-uh-nuh), comes from the word “baka.” Although it is usually referred to as “crow,” it is more accurately translated as “crane.” However, both “Crane Pose” and “Crow Pose” refer to the posture described below.
This pose requires a good deal of strength, so it is often performed closer to the beginning of a yoga class.
Benefits of Crow Pose
Bakasana strengthens the upper arms, forearms, and wrists. Additionally, it tones and strengthens the abdominal muscles and the organs of the torso while stretching the upper back and groins. This pose also improves balance and full-body coordination.
Yoga expands beyond the yoga mat — it begins to seep into your lifestyle, transforming you one pose at a time.
More significantly, Crow Pose builds confidence and healthy self-awareness. Getting over your fear of possibly falling on your face requires moving slowly with a calm mind. This focused mindset will help you reduce everyday stress and anxiety, leaving you feeling calm and self-assured.
Do not practice this pose if you have a recent or chronic wrist or shoulder injury, or if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Women who are pregnant should also avoid this pose. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
Note: Be sure to set up your “falling spot” before you come into the pose!
Begin by standing at the top of your mat in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your arms at your sides. Step your feet about as wide as your mat.
Bend your knees and lower your hips, drop into a squat. Separate your thighs so they are slightly wider than your torso and keep your feet as close together as possible. If your heels lift, support them with a folded mat or blanket.
Drop your torso slightly forward and bring your upper arms to the inside of your knees. Press your elbows along the inside of your knees and bring your palms together in prayer position. This is Garland Pose (Malasana).
Bring your palms to the mat, keeping them about shoulder-distance apart. Spread your fingers and press evenly across both palms and through your knuckles.
Press your shins against the back of your upper arms. Draw your knees in as close to your underarms as possible.
Lift onto the balls of your feet as you lean forward. Round your back and draw your abdominal muscles in firmly. Keep your tailbone tucked in toward your heels.
Look at the floor between your hands or at a point even more forward, if possible.
As you continue to lean forward, lift your feet off the floor and draw your heels toward your buttocks. If it’s difficult to lift both feet at the same time, try lifting one foot and then the other. Balance your torso and legs on the back of your upper arms.
Keep pressing evenly across your palms and fingers, then begin to straighten your elbows. Keep your knees and shins hugging in tightly toward your armpits. Keep your forearms drawn firmly toward the midline of your body.
Touch your big toes together. Draw your belly in. Breathe steadily.
Hold the pose for up to one minute. To release, exhale as you slowly lower your feet to the floor, coming back into Garland Pose.