There is a soft spot in my heart for crow pose (bakasana) because it is the first arm balance I ever learned. I hesitated because for someone who’s never done it, it looks like it requires a lot of strength. And it does, some — still totally counts as a core (including pelvic floor) strengthening pose, for instance — but the main issue is finding the balance. Still:
Protip: A lot of times, finding the right balance point will mean several tries not going far enough in the pose — and maybe feeling like you can’t do it. Often, it will also mean several tries going too far in the pose — maybe feeling like you can’t do it and possibly face planting besides. Contrary to how it may seem, experiencing one or both of these — and fine tuning from there — actually means UR DOIN IT RITE.
This time I’ve done a lot of the detailing inside a video clip. My notes are quite basic, so if you’re totally unfamiliar with crow, you might want to check out some more in depth videos like this from The Yogique or the YogaBody Revolution.**
So. Me in crow:
[What? Don't tell me you haven't longed to make a video where it looks like captions are flying out of your butt. You know you want to.]
Per the post title, I do think of it like flying, even though bakasana doesn’t involve getting very far off the ground. For me, it’s sort of the equivalent of being able to go, “Look, no hands!” — except that it’s just hands. It’s exhilarating and empowering.
That said, some yogis might need or want modifications to build up to crow in a way that’s physically and mentally more comfortable for them. One very clever option is to use a block under the toes:
[Video by aparnalevine1 via YouTube.]
And if both feet won’t fit on a single block (I haven’t tried this, but I expect mine wouldn’t), one could use two blocks side by side.
People who have contraindications for crow — wrist or shoulder issues, pregnancy, high blood pressure — or folks who have a hard time finding the strength for the pose might for a reclined version instead.In it, the abdominals, pelvic floor, and inner thighs are still working, but there’s a floor for support and no weight on the wrists:
[You will also want to find a head angle that doesn't strain your neck. Still working on that part.]
Even as someone who can get into traditional crow, it’s nice to have the reclining variation to use, either as a warm up for my core or during a later part of my practice, when my upper body is ready to be done but my core might still have more to give. Although I’m not balanced on my hands in this one, I do think that kind of repeated core activation helps my body remember the pose — and keeps me flying. ;)
** Linking to these videos means that I happen to like these particular videos. I’ve not viewed all uploaded videos from these folks, so this isn’t a general endorsement.