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How To Practice Crow Pose

How To Practice Crow Pose

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 

Core strength

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. 

Tree Pose or Vrikshasana

How to do Crow Pose

Here is the breakdown of bakasana steps.

Getting in the posture

  1. Place the palms shoulder-width apart on the floor, spread the fingers wide
  2. Bring the knees close to the armpits, as high as you can
  3. Press into the palms, keeping the hips high. Slowly, come on to the toes.
  4. Look forward and not down. 
  5. 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.

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Key Alignments in Crow Pose

  1. Ensure you look straight and not down. This will help maintain balance.  
  2. 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.

Easy Variation

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. 

Advanced Variation

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

  1. Always keep the core and thighs engaged. This will improve stability in the posture. 
  2. 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. 

Shvasa Tip 

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. 

What is Crow pose good for?
Crow pose, also known as Bakasana in yoga, is a powerful and beneficial arm balance pose. This asana strengthens the arms, shoulders, and wrists, enhancing upper body strength and stability. It also engages the core muscles, promoting balance and improving concentration. Crow pose helps to build confidence and cultivate focus as it requires coordination and mind-body connection. Additionally, it can aid in improving posture and toning the abdominal muscles.
Can beginners do crow pose?
Yes, beginners can attempt Crow pose with proper guidance and practice. While it may seem intimidating at first, this arm balance can be accessible with patience and consistent effort. Beginners should start by working on arm and core strength through preparatory exercises like plank poses, chaturanga, and forearm balances. It's essential to listen to their bodies, avoid pushing too hard, and use props such as yoga blocks or cushions to support their knees if needed. A qualified yoga instructor can provide necessary modifications and ensure proper alignment to help beginners gradually build the required strength and confidence for Crow pose.
What level of yoga is Crow Pose?
Crow pose, also known as Bakasana, is considered an intermediate level yoga pose. It requires a certain level of arm and core strength, as well as flexibility in the hips and wrists. The pose involves balancing the body on the hands while resting the knees on the back of the upper arms. Beginners may find it challenging to lift their feet off the ground and hold the position steady. However, with consistent practice and proper guidance, individuals can progress from basic preparatory poses to build the necessary strength and balance.
What is the Indian name of Crow Pose?
The Indian name of Crow Pose is "Bakasana." In Sanskrit, "baka" translates to "crow," and "asana" means "pose" or "posture." Bakasana is named after the graceful and grounded appearance of a crow perched on its arms while balancing on its wings.
How To Practice Crow Pose
Pradeep Sattamaya

Pradeep is the Global Head of Yoga at Shvasa. He is currently pursuing his studies in Yoga texts, Ayurveda and modern Neuroscience. Pradeep successfully built a chain of yoga studios in Bangalore which was later acquired by a major Health/Fitness brand. He currently resides in Mysore, a heritage city with a close connection to Yoga traditions. Pradeep Sattwamaya (Deep) had the blessed opportunity to be accepted as a disciple by his guru, ParamhamsaSwami Niranjanananda Saraswati ( In the Sanyasa lineage of Shri AdiShankara, Swami Swami Sivananda, Swami Satyananda ). Pradeep spend two full years living and imbibing yoga at Gangadarshan, a traditional Yoga gurukula along the banks of river Ganga in Bihar. He completed first 12 year phase of discipleship in 2016. Pradeep has also practiced and closely studied the Mysore Astanga Yoga and Iyengar Yoga.

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