Pose of the Week: Bakasana, Crane Pose
Bakasana, or Crane pose, is perfect for those just beginning their arm balancing journey, and is probably the first arm balance you will be exposed to in a yoga class. That being said, it is not an easy pose! It's requires a lot of strength in the wrists, arms, shoulders, abdominals, and hip flexors. Crow pose, on the other hand, is a slightly easier variation of Crane, and we can look at that in this post as well, as it's a wonderful starting off point for full Bakasana.
Crane Pose (Bakasana):
Step 1: Begin with palms flat on the mat, shoulder distance, fingers spread, pointer fingers pointing straight forward and elbows rolling toward one another. This is your foundation, so be strong and steady here.
Step 2: Bring the knees to touch your upper arms, working the knees all the way up into the arm pits. Keep expanding through the collarbones.
Step 3: Engage your abdominals, round through the back slightly and hollow out the belly, lifting your torso up toward the sky and becoming lighter.
Step 4: Lean forward forward forward, shoulders going past the wrists, keeping the arms as straight as you can. Use your fingertips, really dig into the ground! Deeply bend the knees, bringing both heels together and toward your bum. Become as compact as humanly possible.
The float comes from not only the leaning forward action of the shoulders, but really the engagement of the abdominals. You need strength in your wrists/arms/shoulders because that is your foundation, but the body actually lifts itself with the core.
So be mindful of staying light in your legs, rather than dumping your weight into your arms.
Crow Pose (Kakasana):
Now. If this 'straight arms-knees in armpits' situation feels impossible at the moment, just place the knees as high up onto the upper arms as possible and then bend at the elbows, face coming closer to your mat, and feet floating off the ground. This is Crow Pose.
If you're having difficulty getting the feet off the ground here, simply come up onto the very tippy toes so you have minimal weight in the feet. Then bend one knee at a time and hold for five breaths to start building the strength necessary to float both feet off the ground.
Once Crow Pose feels steady, start easing your way into full Bakasana! Give yourself time to build strength and confidence, stay patient, humble, and consistent in your practice, have faith, and have fun. You'll be floating in no time.
Questions, comments, concerns are always welcome. I am here to help. <3
For love, with love,
All photography by Sean Shelton @capturedconnections