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Taking Flight in Crow Pose (Bakasana): Nicole

On the first day of our YTT, we were asked if there were any poses that we were
struggling with in our physical practices. One pose quickly came to mind – Crow!
After years of practicing on and off, Bakasana still seemed to hover out of reach. At
the early stages, it was an evident lack of arm strength. I could barely do a single
chaturanga push up with my knees off the ground without my lower back sinking on
the way down, surely Crow Pose would be beyond my physical capabilities.


Only in the past year have I been feeling strong enough to embark on the journey to
Crow again. I saw massive improvement in my chaturanga form after a year of
regular strength training so I knew my arms had developed the strength I needed to
carry me. Still, each attempt left me feeling defeated as I just could not hold the pose
with my feet off the ground.


It seemed simple enough: hands on the mat, fingers spread wide, knees (not shins)
to rest on triceps, bend your elbows and lift your toes off the ground. But my Crow
was like a see-saw. Every time I lifted off, it took barely a second before my toes
made their way back to their mat again. I was beginning to believe it was the weight
of my bum pulling me down!


While we have not official practiced Crow/Bakasana, we have been working on other
arm balances during our asana sessions in class. From Parsva Bakasana, EPK 1/2,
Astavakrasana, and others, our minds and bodies have been consistently
challenged, developing focus, building strength, and heightening awareness of
muscle engagement.


Today, I finally mustered up the courage to attempt Crow Pose during a self-practice
session. I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself holding my feet off the mat
in Crow, and then adjusting the body while balancing my entire weight on my hands
in that position. What a breakthrough!


Now, I definitely wouldn’t consider my Crow consistent just yet, but here were some
of the statements/cues I noticed were running through my head at the time that
perhaps may give you that last push you need to stay in place:

1. Protract the shoulder blades, pull belly button to spine, and hug into the
midline – To avoid dumping the weight down and out.
2. Look towards the top of your mat, not between your hands.
3. Lean forwards until elbows are stacked above wrists.
4. Your weight should be in your first two fingers – Index and middle finger
should be gripping the mat tightly to prevent you from nosediving!
5. Point your toes – give your feet something to do so that they are not hanging
about sloppily!

Most importantly: TRUST. Crow Pose really forces me to trust my body. I have to
believe that my arms can hold my weight and will not let me fall. Of all the cues I
could give myself to get into this shape, this was the one thing that truly required


If you are also facing a fear of falling, my humble advice would be to give yourself
time to build strength in other ways by trying other arm balances and continuing with
the drills to engage the relevant muscles. Eventually, there will come a day where
you will feel ready to take the leap. And when you do, you'll probably find yourself
flying, too.


200HR YTT May’21 Weekday