The crow pose is an arm balancing posture that develops flexibility, agility, strength, and balance. In Sanskrit, the crow pose is called Kakasana. It is an intermediate to advanced level posture which challenges one’s physical, mental and emotional strength. It boosts energy, focus and balance.
Further on we will discuss more about the crow pose benefits and contraindications to get a better understanding of the pose before practicing.
What are the benefits of crow pose?
This arm balancing posture requires immense mental focus. The weight of the body is on the arms, especially the wrists and elbows. There is a fear of falling over, and to combat this fear it is important to maintain awareness of the mind and body. Emotionally, it helps conquer this fear and instil a sense of courage.
Physically, the bakasana pose improves core strength immensely as one has to keep the core engaged. It improves abdominal muscle strength as well as arm strength. It also tones the abs. It improves flexibility and back, hips, and leg strength. It improves blood circulation and gives a beneficial compression to the abdominal organs, and improves nervous coordination.
Posture type: Arm Balance
Ideal for: Strength
Targets: Arm, shoulders & upper back
Pose level: Advanced
How to prepare for crow pose
Building strength in the core is extremely useful. As your strength improves you will be able to hold the posture for longer. It will greatly help with challenging asanas and variations like the crow and crane pose. However, to build strength you can practice swaying palm tree pose, standing spinal twist, Parsvakonasana, and the warrior series. Even sun salutations or Surya Namaskars are useful for this.
Balance and flexibility
Better the balance and flexibility, better the alignment of the posture. For this, hip, arm and leg flexibility and strength is important. Practice asanas like standing forward fold (Uttanasana), cat-cow, wrist exercises, plank, and arm strengthening exercises like push-ups. Even the puppy pose and cow-face pose are useful for arm and shoulder flexibility. For balance, postures like the tree pose (Vrikshasana) and eagle pose (Garudasana) are useful.
How to do Crow Pose
Here is the breakdown of bakasana steps.
Getting in the posture
- Place the palms shoulder-width apart on the floor, spread the fingers wide
- Bring the knees close to the armpits, as high as you can
- Press into the palms, keeping the hips high. Slowly, come on to the toes.
- Look forward and not down.
- Now, breath in and slowly bring one heel to the buttock and then lift the other leg up.
Getting out of the posture
Bend the elbows and lower the feet down and slowly come out of the posture.
Key Alignments in Crow Pose
- Ensure you look straight and not down. This will help maintain balance.
- The knees and thighs should be pressed into the arms. And arms should be pressing into the thighs.
What are the contra-indications of Crow Pose?
People with back or heart problems, high blood pressure or vertigo should not practise this asana. Anyone with wrist and shoulder conditions should also avoid the asana and if one is recovering from a wrist or shoulder injury.
What are the counter poses of Crow Pose?
Practice a simple backbend or child’s pose (Balasana) immediately after the posture. You can also do a few wrist rotations and shake the hands and legs gently.
Crow Pose Variations
Here are 2 crow pose variations that you can practice.
Practice shifting the weight forward and taking the weight onto the palms by keeping the tip of the toes on the mat. You can also lift only one leg up initially and then lift both legs.
Eka Pada crow pose or Flying crow pose is where one leg is extended or straightened out and only one leg remains by the arm.
Advice for beginners
It is difficult to balance on the arms initially. Start with learning to shift the weight forward and onto the arms. Once you get this, you will be more confident lifting both the legs up.
Practice tips for Crow Pose
- Always keep the core and thighs engaged. This will improve stability in the posture.
- Even if you are holding the posture just for a few seconds, it’s alright. It takes time to create this kind of muscle memory. So work on your progress slowly and steadily.
This is an intermediate - advanced posture so needs to be done carefully to avoid injuries. To overcome the fear of falling, it is best to keep a few cushions or a blanket in front of you. Allow yourself to fall once or twice so you will be more confident.