Even though it’s considered a fundamental arm balance, this posture requires strength. Core strength is especially needed to rise into the pose and hold the posture with the feet off the ground. Many teachers claim that yogis with high stress are drawn to Crow because of its ability to help the body release tension. The pose is traditionally practiced relatively early in classes before strength and energy has dissipated.
The Sanskrit name or translation is Bakasana. The breakdown for the Sanskrit name is as follows, “Baka” meaning “Crow or Crane”, and “Asana” meaning “Posture or Pose”. It’s worth noting that the translation is more accurate as “Crane Pose”. However, “Crow” is by far the most popular name for the asana.
Crow is packed with a wide variety of physical and emotional benefits, including providing a path to reaching a challenging goal and the satisfaction of attaining those first few seconds of flying in Crow Pose.
Benefits Of The Pose:
Like most arm balance postures, Crow or Crane helps drastically to strengthen and test the upper body and core. This pose will no doubt bring new strength to the arms, forearms, wrists and core. Crow will also stretch the back and groins. The abdominal muscles will also gain benefit from the practice of this posture.
The upper body strength mentioned above will help you in a variety of ways with your yoga practice and in your daily life. A strong core and upper body will aid to protect your back and could make you less likely to risk injury. More challenging yoga poses will become more accessible as your upper body becomes stronger. Upper body and core strength will also make balance easier which could be beneficial for athletes in many ways.
Like so many yoga postures, Crow will offer mental and emotional benefits. The process of practicing this pose will create challenge and perhaps the fear of failure or injury. Crow will give you the chance to attain a goal, overcome your fear and build great confidence. The pose requires focus and that focus can help you forget or release stress and worries.
Many yogis and instructors believe that Crow is beneficial for the Sacral Chakra or Second Chakra. The Sacral Chakra located in the pelvic region just below your navel is connected to your pleasure-seeking side and your lust for life. One way to help balance and care for this chakra is to build core strength and release tension in the pelvic and hip area. As we mentioned, Crow is an ideal pose for accomplishing these tasks.
Strengthens Shoulders & Core
Helps With Focus and Balance
Prep & Follow Up Poses:
As mentioned, this pose is traditionally offered early in yoga classes and there are a variety of postures that could be used as prep poses. A few examples of prep poses for Crow would include Downward Facing Dog Pose, Plank Pose and Bound Angle. Some students may also find Side Plank Pose and Forearm Plank Pose as good prep poses.
Modifications & Cautions:
Some students may elect to lift into Crow from being perched on a yoga block if they’re struggling to lift into the posture from the floor.
If you’re stable in Crow Pose, you may decide to work toward the straight-armed variation of the posture. This variation is much more difficult as the arms are straight with no bend. Many consider this to be the actual true full version of the pose.
Another variation of the pose is called Side Crow Pose, which incorporates a twist with both knees resting on one arm.
Crow can also act as a fun transition pose. You may have seen yogis transition from Crow into a Tripod Headstand and then back into Crow. Some students may also jump from Crow into a Chaturanga and Vinyasa. These transitions require strength and practice, approach them with caution.
Crow is a good pose to avoid if you’re suffering from arm or wrist injuries. Crow should not be practiced during pregnancy. Clear any medical questions with your doctor and allow injuries to fully heal before returning to your practice.
Try to work on straightening your arms to attain the full posture. This will require practice!
Make use of props for protection, place blankets or pillows in front of you to soften your fall. Chances are you will fall forward!
Don’t try to jump into the pose, try to slowly lift or lean into the posture. Lift one foot at a time off the floor instead of both feet at once.
Spread your weight evenly between both arms and spread your fingers for a wider base to help with balance.
Try to point your gaze forward, this will also help with balance.
Engage your core! This pose isn’t just about arm strength, use the abdominal muscles to help with the posture.
Men will find it helpful to wipe sweat from their arms and legs to help prevent slipping.
Prepare to be humbled, Crow is harder than it appears!
We will start in Malasana Pose or Yogi Squat.
Make sure your elbows are to the inside of each knee with your hands at the heart or perhaps in prayer position.
Leaning slightly forward, drop your hands to the mat and keep them about shoulder distance apart, spread your fingers.
Place your lower legs along your upper arms, move your knees as close as possible to your arm pits.
Lift onto the balls of both feet, engage your core and allow your weight to move into your hands with a rounded back.
While leaning forward, slowly lift your feet off the ground. If needed, only lift one foot at a time. Do not try jumping into the posture at this point.
Once both feet are lifted, pull the feet together and try pulling the feet toward the back. Keep the gaze forward to help with balance if possible.
As your practice develops, you can try straightening the arms while holding the pose.
Otherwise, hold the pose for a few breaths and then slowly place the feet back onto the ground and resume Yogi Squat.