Pose of the Week: Bakasana (Crane Pose)

Learn how to balance like a crane!

Learn how to balance like a crane!

Before you freak out—this is one pose that is actually easier than it looks if you practice the correct technique. (And it looks pretty impressive, right?)

Bakasana (also known as “Crane Pose” or “Crow Pose”) is a balancing pose that is primarily focused on arm strength but works the abdominal muscles as well. It’s an awesome pose that increases your balance and overall flexibility. It’s also a predecessor to dozens of other arm balancing poses and is a crucial foundational position for all yoga practitioners.

What it does

This pose will work your arms, wrist and core muscles, as well as stretch your back and groin muscles. If performed frequently and correctly, you will be able to stretch the full length of your spine.

Why it helps

Once you get a hang of bakasana, you will notice an improvement in your balance—not to mention stronger arms and core.

How to Perform a Simple Bakasana

  1. Lower yourself into a squat position, keeping your feet only a few inches apart and your knees pointed outwards farther than your hips.
  2. Place your hands in front of you so that your palms are completely pressed into the floor and the backs of your arms are up against your shins.
  3. This is the tricky part: bring your thighs in closer to your middle and your shins up into your underarms—basically, you want to tuck your body inwards. Once that is done, begin to lift your feet up slowly and lean slightly forward rounding your back.
  4. Once you are comfortable, keep leaning forward until your feet leave the floor. If you are in the correct position, you should be balanced on the back of your upper arms. Voila! You are performing a simple bakasana.

Additional Pointers

Don’t let your rear end get too high in the air—there shouldn’t be too much space between the heels of your feet and your bum. The key is to keep everything tucked in tight to avoid falling. Also, especially if you are a beginner, don’t feel the need to hold this pose for too long so as to avoid strain on your wrists.

Warning Signs

Your wrists should not feel strained after this pose. If they do, you could be at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Also, you should definitely not perform this pose if you are pregnant.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

No matter what, yoga is all about YOU. Getting in touch with your body, your comfort level, and your breath. Never hold a pose longer than is truly comfortable to do so, and if you experience discomfort or pain in a pose, ease up or change poses to relieve the discomfort.

REMEMBER: In yoga, your practice is YOUR practice. Nobody’s yelling at you to move faster, bend lower, or breathe deeper. There’s no competition, no drill sergeant trainer, and no counter telling you how many reps to do. If you can’t get the full pose today, it’s all right. You’ll try it again another time when you feel more flexible and more comfortable with it.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons CC license

Carolyn Heintz can be found in San Diego working as a personal nutrition consultant, practicing her morning sun salutations, advocating heart disease prevention, or chasing after her two beautiful (energetic) little girls.

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Disclaimer:  
The information on this website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition. Please consult your doctor before attempting any of the exercises, remedies, or health tips on this website to make sure you are healthy enough to do so.
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