One legged crow pose is an arm balancing pose and one of the more difficult ones that can be found in yoga. It’s similar to crow pose and requires a lot of the same elements but the shape changes a bit and there’s more of a challenge with balancing the weight. That’s the most challenging thing about this pose, finding a stable balance of weight.
With all arm balances, the balancing part is the most important. Some strength is required but it’s mostly about learning the correct elements of the pose that would help a person learn to find balance. There’s a lot of tricky elements to the pose but once they’re learnt, the pose gets easier to practice.
The basics of one legged crow pose
One legged crow pose, also known as one legged crane pose, is known as Eka Pada Bakasana in Sanskrit. The pose requires some upper arm strength and targets the wrists, arms, and back. Some core engagement is also needed in this pose for stability and balance but not a lot.
It takes a lot of confidence to push through into the pose. It’s not necessarily a difficult pose physically but it takes a lot of courage mentally. Most people don’t do the pose unless they have a lot of arm strength and have practiced easier arm balances like regular crow pose or crane pose. That makes it an intermediate pose, but beginners can do and practice the pose as well.
The benefits of practicing one legged crow pose
One legged crow pose strengthens the arms and the wrists. A lot of engagement from the hands is needed to find balance in the pose, which strengthens the wrists. It also creates full-body awareness as there needs to be focus all over the body to balance in this pose.
Holding this pose is grounding and centres a person, making it easier to be fully focused and still. Due to the pose requiring a lot of courage to get into, when it’s held it increases the overall confidence in that person. This confidence helps a person to tackle more challenging balances and further challenge themselves off of the yoga mat as well.
How to do one legged crow pose
Step by step instructions for getting into the pose
- Begin in a yogi squat with toes together and knees spread out to the side. Bring the hands into prayer at the front of the heart and use the elbows to push the knees outward.
- From there, place forearms onto the mat and snuggle the knees onto the upper arms. Try to get the knees as high up on the arms as possible.
- Push into the hands, grip into the fingertips, and gaze forward as you lift the forearms off the floor. Keep the knees in place on the upper arms the whole time.
- Keep the big toes touching as you slowly begin to lean forward until both feet come off the floor. Use the grip in your hands to make sure you don’t fall forward and keep the gaze steady. Bring the feet as close to the glutes as possible and keep the hips high.
- Slowly begin to bring one knee off the upper arm and in between the arms whilst maintaining balance. From there, extend the leg straight back and lean forward slightly more to keep the balance. Bring the leg back onto the upper arm and try with the other leg.
Common mistakes made when doing the pose
Most people make the mistake of not leaning forward enough to hold the pose. It can be very scary to lean forward when the face is so close to the floor and a face plant may happen. Without the lean then the pose won’t hold up. The courage needs to be there to lean.
Another mistake people make in one legged crow pose is not engaging their hands. The hands are the key to this pose and crow pose. It’s what prevents a person from going too far forward or falling back. The hands are used to move the body back and forth and need to be engaged to hold the pose steadily.
This is a difficult arm balance so beginning with crow and creating a strong foundation in crow is vital. This can be done by practicing the shape of it lying down and seated to understand all the elements required within the pose. Some core strengthening and a tiny bit of arm strength will also help when going into the pose.
Make sure to warm up the wrists so that they don’t get overworked or too tired whilst practicing the pose. Use a pillow and place it on the mat in front of you where your head would land if you did face plant. Having a pillow there makes it a lot easier and less scary to lean forwards as much as is needed in this pose. Take it slowly, don’t rush into the pose or throw yourself into it. It’s a difficult pose that takes time and work.
If someone is experiencing pain or any kind of injury in their knees, legs, ankles, wrists, or arms then they should avoid this pose. If any pain is felt whilst practicing the pose, then the person should back off and practice something gentler. Always consult a doctor or physician before going into any exercise or movement. Listen to your body and never push it too far.
An easier variation of one legged crow pose is a regular crow pose. Practicing crow pose repeatedly until it’s perfectly stable is what’s going to help someone get into this pose. One legged crow pose won’t be stable unless a stable crow is practiced beforehand. There’s also crane pose where the arms are straight, and the knees are almost in the armpits. This is a more difficult version of crow, but it also builds the same strength and confidence.
An easier version for some is side crow. This requires less strength and engagement, but the head needs to be closer to the ground to hold this pose, which may make it scarier for some to practice. It’s a pose that will help with confidence in all arm balances and works on almost all the elements needed to hold one legged crow pose.References: