Everyone loves the elusive bakasana (crow pose) that seems to regularly appear during your standard Vinyasa yoga class. And who would blame them? Crow pose is a challenge, builds stamina and strength, helps the practitioner engage bandhas, and it just looks really, really cool.
Unfortunately sometimes the vision of your perfect bakasana is easier to dream up then it is to manifest and you wind up with buckling arms and a face full of your mat. With these three tips you should be able to skillfully make your way into a firm, graceful bakasana with just a little determination and consistent practice.
1.) Pay more attention to your chaturanga dandasana. You know, that transition pose you skip over in between the more active poses? You know! That terribly annoying and tough push up position you're forced into ninety times a class? Yeah! That's the one! If you take a closer look you might see a surprising similarity between the position of your arms in chaturanga dandasana and bakasana then you might have thought.
They're so similar that, in fact, they're the same! If you take a full breath in your chaturanga dandasana every single time it's offered in your class you'll quickly gain the strength that's been missing in your current approach to crow pose. Try your best in your next class to give chaturanga dandasana the full breath it deserves, just a little pause!, and you'll be one step closer to bakasana.
2.) Find the balance between the weight of your pelvis and the weight of your head, then use your abs (eg bandhas...) to keep your legs drawn to your core. Often the perfect crow pose is only missing the upward lift from the bandhas and a perfect balance between the heavy weight of your pelvic bowl and the heavy weight of your head. Once you have the strength in your arms you can simply tilt forward into crow, shifting your body weight into your hands and arms, and you'll come to easily find a "sweet spot" where you can perfect maintain the balance between your head and your pelvis.
3.) Don't be afraid. Fear is another facet of bakasana and we all understand the panic that can start to creep in as you feel your face moving closer and closer to the floor. No one likes to fall, but maybe the real problem is that no one likes to fail and this fear can be what keeps you from really moving forward into the pose. To get your weight forward enough to hit that sweet balancing spot you've got to rely on your own strength and take the chance that you might face plant, but the good news is you're only about two inches from the floor....
Put these three steps into practice and you'll definitely see progress in your approach to bakasana. It's also the gateway to even more fun and challenging arm balances (this is just bakasana a... tips on b and c to come!) in yoga so these three steps are really the foundation for all of your arm balancing goals!
Ready to put these tips into practice? Come to our regular Sunset Stretch Yoga class at Sloane Stecker Lincoln Square.