The mighty Bakasana, a.k.a Crane Pose or Crow Pose is one of the most popular arm balances taught in modern yoga classes. Although it looks impressive, for some of us it may feel hard to achieve. Fear not! We found the following helpful tips and modifications from many great yoga teachers and friends that hopefully will help you find the version perfect for you.
Let's get technical and find out the basics behind performing a Bakasana.
How to Do Crow Pose / Bakasana
Here is a short and sweet but thorough Bakasana tutorial video by the lovely Chelsey Korus which we found really helpful.
- Start in a squatting position (Malasana) with your feet hip width apart and the feet and knees turned out slightly.
- Set the hands shoulder distance apart onto the floor in front of you and aim for the knees to come all the way into the armpit. If they can't reach the armpits, bend the arms and create a shelf for your knees and place them on the triceps.
- Lift up onto the toes but aim to keep a flat horizontal back as you lean the knees into the armpits, or onto the triceps.
- Gazing forward with the eyes and chest facing forward, start to lean forward. The hardest part is leaning forward just beyond that point of comfort, and if you manage that, then you can lift your feet off the floor.
- If you are comfortable in the balance, start to straighten the arms, keeping the core tight and the Drishti (gaze) firmly affixed on a non-moving point in front of you to help you keep the balance.
- To come out of the pose, push or lean backwards and slowly place the feet back onto the floor.
Love to try Bakasana but feel like it's not going to happen? Check out our top 7 tips below.
Tip 1: Overcoming sore wrists
This is a common problem in a lot of yoga poses, especially Downward Facing Dog Pose. Lots of Yoga recently wrote an article about what to do if you have sore wrists in Downward Dog and the 3 following tips can come in really helpful for Bakasana too:
(1) Dolphin arms
Leaning on your forearms in this pose alleviates any pressure to the wrists.
(2) Gel pads
Using these YogaJellies wrist pads immensely relieves pressure from the wrists and can be used for many poses not just Bakasana.
(3) Using your fists
Making your hands into fists and mindfully leaning on them is a great way to find your Bakasana without achy wrists - but don't try this is your wrists are so weak that they tend to give way.
Tip 2: Finding your balance
The biggest hurdle for Bakasana is being afraid to lean forward which is something you need to do to be able to perform this pose. If you are afraid that you will fall face first, the best thing to do is put a nice soft pillow, blanket or even a trusty block on the floor at face level which will also shorten the falling distance and the worst that could happen is that you will land softly and give your blanket, pillow or block a kiss. That doesn't sound do bad now, does it?
Another trick is to face a wall, prepare for your Bakasana and slowly lean forward until your head is touching the wall. This gives us more confidence to be able to lift the feet off the floor and get the feel of the pose and as we get used to it and build confidence, we can slowly back away from the wall and try again.
Tip 3: When knees cannot get anywhere near armpits
Place the knees low on top of triceps, near the elbows. This is still very much a Bakasana and a balancing pose and until you manage to work on your flexibility, you can get used to balancing just like this.
It's rare that someone will try Bakasana and be able to do it immediately (we certainly didn't). But one way to help build confidence and strength and get used to the technique is by using trusty modifications. Here are a few tried and tested favourites.
Tip 4: Keep both feet on floor
Get into the Bakasana position and practice leaning forward as far as you can go, but leaving both feet on the floor. If you're feeling confident, lift the feet a tiny bit off the floor and put them back down again. If not, leaving them on the floor and just getting used to leaning forward is most of the work.
Tip 5: Lift one foot up at a time
Using the same principle as point 1 above, lean forward and when you feel comfortable and safe, lift one foot off the floor then place it back down again. Do the same with the other foot and then keep alternating legs for the five breaths.
Tip 6: Put hands on blocks
Putting your hands on blocks or on a taller surface gives the impression that you don't have to lift your bottom in the air so much, and somehow makes it feel less scary. Also, a lot of us have this feeling that our arms are not long enough for us to be able to lift ourselves or our legs up into Bakasana so using blocks raises our bodies and helps with this.
Tip 7: Put feet on blocks
Yet another way to trick our brains (because as we all know, it's all in the mind) in order to get the feel of what it is like to have the feet off the floor in Bakasana, we can place our feet on blocks and practice leaning forward. Also, with your feet on blocks and your hands on the ground, you may just find that it's easier to get the knees into those armpits! Once we get used to this position, we can remove the blocks. We use them to lose them!
Showing Off in Bakasana
We love a bit of showboating! We may not be able to do the extreme versions of Bakasana but we sure do like looking at them and we find them inspiring as well as aim to be able to do them one day. Here are a few of our favourites.
"Practice and all is coming." - K. Pattabhi Jois
And finally, the straight-armed Bakasana from the the Intermediate series of Ashtanga yoga:
Now that you have all this information about Bakasana, what is stopping you? Share your Crow modifications or full Crows on Instagram and don't forget to tag us @lots_of_yoga.
Do you have any other tips/tricks/modifications for Bakasana? If so, we'd love to hear them. Contact us via the below methods and we'll get back to you!