Crow pose is one of the many arm balance poses in yoga. It’s one of the introductory arm balances that’s found in yoga because it has the foundations for many of the other arm balances. Most teachers will use crow to begin teaching their students arm balances and work their way from that pose to another, more challenging arm balance.
Crow pose doesn’t necessarily stretch anything in the body but is more about strengthening and balancing. Once the balance in this pose is found, it’s a lot easier to continuously get into. There’s a lot of fear around arm balances but once the elements of the pose are put together, it’s easily held with no fear.
The basics of crow pose
Crow pose is known as Bakasana in Sanskrit. Although this pose doesn’t stretch many elements in the body, it does strengthen areas. The only thing being stretched in this pose is the upper back. The wrists, forearms, and abs are all strengthened when practicing the pose.
Crow pose can look like a really strong pose but it in fact doesn’t require a lot of strength. The pose is held by finding the right balance and leaning forward enough. Once that’s done, not much strength is needed to keep the pose in place. Crow pose is still very challenging for some, and most beginners wouldn’t try it until they’ve practiced quite a bit of yoga. This makes it an intermediate level yoga pose.
The benefits of practicing crow pose
There are many benefits to practicing crow pose but the best one is that it teaches you how to balance and persevere. It often takes many times trying to get into the pose before the perfect balance that holds this pose is found. The willingness to keep trying is extremely helpful in life and when trying to get other poses. Once someone gets the balance, it’ll never leave, they’ll always be able to do it.
Crow pose also strengthens areas like the wrists and forearms, which is the strength needed for more difficult yoga poses. There is also a confidence that comes with getting crow pose, which pushes a person to try out other yoga poses. Once one is achieved it becomes really easy to understand and achieve other arm balances.
How to do crow pose
Step by step instructions for getting into the pose
- Begin in a yogi squat. Come onto the balls of your feet with the toes in together and the legs opened wide. The knees will be pointing outward, and the hands can stay on the floor to keep the balance.
- Bring your forearms onto the floor parallel to each other. The fingers must be pointing forward and the arms should be about shoulder-width distance apart.
- Slowly start to slide the forearms closer to the body and bring the knees as high up onto the upper arms as possible.
- Grip into your hands and gaze forward. Remember to never shift the gaze, it must stay slightly ahead of you. Don’t crunch too much in the neck. If the gaze shifts onto yourself then you will most likely fall.
- Once the gaze is steady, begin to lift the forearms off the floor with the legs on top of them. Don’t lose the focus of the gaze and the grip in the hands.
- Start to lean forward more until you feel your toes are about to come off of the floor. Gently pick up one foot and then the other, keeping the toes together in the air.
- Hold for as long as possible. If you fall out, take a short break and try again. Keep trying till you can hold the pose for a bit.
Common mistakes made when doing the pose
The biggest mistake that people make when trying to do crow pose is that they don’t lean forward enough. The lean is the scariest part of going into the pose because it feels as if you would fall forward onto your face. This rarely happens as the grip in the hands can push the body back if you were to start falling forward too much. There needs to be enough lean to find the balance in this pose.
Another really big mistake that people make is looking at their feet or directly under them. This pose can’t be held unless the gaze is forward and slightly ahead of the hands. The more the person leans, the further the gaze can be shifted. It should never be on the body or too close.
One of the best things a beginner can do when trying to get into crow pose, or their first arm balance, is to practice the shape of it. First, do the shape lying down and then try it seated as well. Practicing the pose like this helps to understand the elements that go into holding the pose and the exact shape that needs to be made to hold the pose.
Another thing that beginners can do when trying crow pose is to put a pillow in front of their head. This helps with the fear of leaning. If the person feels like they can’t push themselves back and they fall, then the pillow will be there to soften the landing. Fear is one of the biggest reasons people don’t get the pose and blocking that out helps the end result.
If someone has an injury or is feeling pain in their wrist, ankles, forearms, or knees then they shouldn’t be doing this pose. Always listen to your body and never push past the point of pain. Consult a doctor or physician before going into any pose or physical exercise.
To make this pose easier, do the version of it lying down or seated. All of the same benefits are received when doing the pose this way and it helps in the process of getting the final crow pose. Other variations like side crow or one legged crow pose are harder variations that can be worked on once crow feels stable.