As much as we know there shouldn’t be, there are still certain yoga poses that we all want to nail. Be it crow, headstand or handstand, we all have our nemesis poses. Those that best us no matter how often we try.
So, we’ve decided to try and help. Which is why, our new monthly post is going to break down each difficult pose. We’ll share top tips on achieving the pose and offer some flow options to help open up and get into the pose.
First up, is crow pose or bakasana
Whether you’re new to yoga or you’re a seasoned practitioner there is always going to be poses that you find more challenging than others. When you encounter these poses you have a choice. You can get lost in self judgement, or you can use the challenge to build concentration and focus. All with no attachment to the outcome. Arm balances teach you the principles of balance in your practice. Which, in turn, teaches you the principles of balance in your everyday life. Learning that when you fall you can get back up and keep going, is all part of your yoga and life practice. If we didn’t face challenges we wouldn’t learn to how to deal with difficult situations. Remember, no matter how gracefully the person beside you pops up into crow pose, they have their own challenges that yoga offers them.
Crow pose is a challenging pose. It requires strength in the shoulder, arms, core, hip flexors, glutes, groins and hamstrings. It builds confidence, stamina, focus, concentration and coordination. It’s energising and is great for boosting circulation. Good news is that it’s the foundation pose of lots of other arm balancing poses. So once you grasp it, it opens up a whole range of poses to you.
Journeying into the pose with awareness of the different areas that need to be prepared makes it easier to give it your best shot. As you run through the prep poses, notice if there is any particular ones that you find more difficult, spend a bit more time in these and breath deeply into them.
How to crow
- From malasana (yogi squat), with feet together, bend your elbows and place your hands forward on the ground, shoulder width apart
- Place your knees high up on your upper arms, hug your knees to your arms
- Strongly draw your navel towards your spine, round your upper back
- Lean forward and shift your weight into your hands, lift your hips up high
- Inhale, lift up onto the balls of your feet, lift your feet up to your buttocks, one at a time or both together, working towards straightening your arms, gaze slightly forward
- Place a pillow or blanket on the ground in front of you. Most people find that they have the courage to lift up if they have a safe provision for their face
- Practice lolasana on blocks first to work on core strength and pressing through your hands to lift the feet up one at a time, or both together
- When you’re lifting up, if the second foot isn’t ready to follow practice lifting right foot first hold for a few breaths and then lift left foot
- Play with your centre of gravity by tipping forward. Like the principles of a seesaw eventually the legs start to feel lighter as the arms take the body weight
Go with the flow
Enjoy the journey towards crow, and all the benefits of the feel good factor of getting closer to finally taking off, or indeed the opportunity to not go into self judgement! And remember, yoga is a journey with no end points.
Ruth Delahunty is a 200hr Yoga Alliance certified teacher and founder of Yogaru.ie, a yoga lifestyle website that promotes a yoga way of living both on and off the mat. For more information visit yogaru.ie