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Crow Pose

Crow Pose

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    The Crow Pose, also known as Bakasana, is a powerful and engaging intermediate yoga pose that demands strength, balance, and focus. This pose is a fundamental part of the arm balance category in yoga, and it is often the first arm balance that yoga students learn. It starts from a squatting position, with hands flat on the floor, and involves lifting the feet off the ground while balancing the knees on the back of the upper arms.

    The Crow Pose is a common feature in many styles of yoga, including Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Power Yoga. It is a pose that not only strengthens the arms, wrists, and abdominal muscles, but also improves balance and full-body coordination.

    Practicing the Crow Pose should be done under the supervision of a certified yoga instructor, as it can be quite challenging, especially for beginners. Proper alignment and technique are crucial to safely perform this pose and prevent potential injuries. With regular practice and correct guidance, the Crow Pose can be a rewarding addition to any yoga routine.

    Pose Details

    Difficulty LevelIntermediate
    Sanskrit Name and PronunciationBakasana (bahk-AHS-uh-nuh)
    Pose TypeArm Balance

    How to Do the Crow Pose

    1. Start in a Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your feet hip distance apart and your hands by your sides.
    2. Bend your knees and lower your body into a squatting position, placing your hands flat on the ground in front of you, shoulder-width apart.
    3. Shift your weight onto your hands, lifting your feet off the ground one at a time. Your knees should be resting on the back of your upper arms.
    4. Engage your core and gaze forward, keeping your neck in line with your spine.
    5. Hold the pose for a few breaths, keeping your balance and maintaining a steady breath.
    6. To exit the pose, lower your feet back to the ground and return to a standing position.
    7. Take a few deep breaths in this position before repeating the pose.

    Muscles Worked

    Upper Body:Deltoids, Rotator Cuffs, Trapezius, Rhomboids, Latissimus Dorsi, Pectoralis Major, Biceps, Triceps
    Core:Rectus Abdominis, Obliques, Transverse Abdominis
    Back:Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids
    Glutes:Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus
    Legs:Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Adductors, Gastrocnemius, Soleus


    While there are many research-backed mental and physical benefits of yoga, there are few — if any — official studies on the crow pose. However, it’s generally believed that practicing the crow pose provides several health benefits.

    Improves Balance

    The Crow pose requires balancing the entire body on the hands, which can significantly improve balance and coordination over time.

    Strengthens the Upper Body

    The Crow pose requires a significant amount of upper body strength to hold the pose. Practicing this pose can help build strength in the arms, wrists, and shoulders.

    Tones the Abdominal Muscles

    The Crow pose engages the core muscles, which can help tone the abdominal muscles and improve overall core strength.

    Improves Digestion

    The Crow pose involves compression of the abdomen, which can stimulate the digestive system and improve digestion.

    Promotes Concentration

    The Crow pose requires focus and concentration to maintain balance, which can help calm the mind and improve mental clarity.

    Enhances Joint Flexibility

    The Crow pose involves bending the knees and elbows, which can help increase flexibility in these joints over time.

    Drawbacks and Risks

    The Crow Pose, also known as Bakasana, is a challenging arm balance pose that requires strength, flexibility, and balance. It’s crucial to practice this pose under the guidance of a qualified instructor to ensure proper alignment and technique, and to avoid injury.

    Some potential risks of the Crow Pose include potential injuries to the:

    Wrists. The Crow Pose requires balancing the entire body weight on the hands, which can put a significant amount of pressure on the wrists. If not performed with proper alignment, there is a risk of strain or injury to the wrist joint. It’s important to distribute the weight evenly across the hands and fingers, and avoid hyperextending the wrists.

    Shoulders. The Crow Pose requires significant strength in the shoulders. If the shoulders are not strong enough or not aligned properly, there is a risk of injury to the shoulder muscles and the shoulder girdle (the clavicle and scapula bones).

    Knees. In the Crow Pose, the knees are placed on the upper arms near the armpits. If not performed with proper alignment, there is a risk of strain or injury to the knee joint. It’s important to engage the core and keep the knees securely placed on the arms.

    Lower Back. The Crow Pose requires a strong core to maintain balance. If the core is not engaged, there is a risk of straining the lower back. It’s important to keep the back rounded and the core engaged to maintain balance and protect the lower back.

    If you experience discomfort or pain while practicing this pose, stop immediately, modify it, or come out of it. It’s also important to warm up properly before attempting this pose and gradually build up to its full expression.

    Common Mistakes

    Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when practicing the Crow Pose.

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    • Not Warming Up. Similar to the Wild Thing pose, it’s crucial to warm up before attempting the Crow Pose to prevent injury. This can include yoga practices such as sun salutations, cat-cow stretches, and wrist stretches to prepare the wrists, arms, and core muscles.
    • Collapsing the Shoulders. In the Crow Pose, it’s important to keep the shoulders lifted and away from the ears. Collapsing the shoulders can lead to strain or injury.
    • Not Engaging the Core. The Crow Pose requires a strong core to lift and balance the body. If the core is not engaged, it can be difficult to maintain the pose and can lead to strain on the arms and wrists.
    • Misaligning the Knees. The knees should be positioned on the outside of the arms in the Crow Pose. If the knees are not aligned properly, there is a risk of strain or injury to the knee joints.
    • Not Using Props. If you’re new to the Crow Pose or have limited strength or balance, it can be helpful to use props such as blocks or a bolster under the feet to support the body and help you find proper alignment.
    • Rushing into the Pose. The Crow Pose requires patience and practice. Rushing into the pose without proper alignment and preparation can lead to injury. It’s important to take your time and gradually work your way into the pose.

    Modifications and Variations

    If you’re new to the Crow Pose or have limited flexibility or strength, several modifications can help you build up to the full expression of the pose. Here are some modifications to try:

    Use Props

    If you’re having trouble balancing on your hands or reaching your knees to your upper arms, you can use props such as blocks or blankets to support your body and help you find proper alignment. Place the blocks or blankets under your feet or hands to help lift your body off the ground.

    Practice on Your Knees

    You can try practicing on your knees if you have trouble holding the pose on your hands. Place your knees on the ground and lift one foot, reaching for your upper arm or elbow. This modification can help you build strength and stability in the pose.

    Practice with a Wall

    If you’re having trouble finding balance in the Crow Pose, try practicing with a wall for support. Place your hands on the ground and your feet on the wall, then try to lift one foot off the wall at a time. This modification can help you find stability and build confidence in the pose.

    Practice the Plank Pose

    This pose can help strengthen your core and arm muscles, preparing you for the Crow Pose. Hold the plank pose for a few breaths, focusing on engaging your core and keeping your body in a straight line. This will help you build the strength necessary for the Crow Pose.

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    Disclaimer: The information on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment before undertaking a new healthcare regimen.
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