Feel Good Yoga Poses – Crow (Kakasana)
The Crow pose is one that most people will struggle with as it requires a specific mix of strength, concentration and perseverance. If you’re new to yoga or you’re inexperienced with arm balances, you’re going to fall. Again and again. Expect it, embrace it. Too often people think they need to double their efforts, grit their teeth, tense their muscles and try to force the pose. However, trying too hard leads to frustration and, most likely, disappointment.
There are two tricks to crow pose. Trick number one: don’t take it so seriously. Smile as you’re falling, laugh as you crash to the mat. Enjoy the process of learning. Give yourself room to ‘fail’. By showing this in your practice, by accepting that not everything will be easy, you’re allowing yourself to try again without guilt or pressure.
Trick number two? Look where you want to go. If you look at the ground you’ll come tumbling down. Look up and you’ll feel yourself flying.
The beauty of crow pose is that magical switch you’ll experience when for the first time something that eluded you for weeks or months suddenly seems so easy. Embracing and loving the difficult journey to performing the crow makes the whole experience even sweeter.
How to do it
There are several ways for getting into crow. For simplicity sake, I’m going to focus on the easiest variation for beginners.
From standing you’ll want to come up onto your toes.
Staying on your toes begin to bring yourself down into a squat.
Place your palms down on the ground in front of you.
Splay your fingers, pressing down with the fingers tips, and knuckle joints.
Turn your hands slightly inwards.
Now bend your elbows out to the sides, making the backs of your arms a shelf for your knees.
Raise your hips up high, focus your gaze on a point in front of you, remembering not to look down.
As you lower your knees rest them on your upper arms, shift the weight into your hands and learn forward.
Inhale and take your toes off the ground. Stay here and breathe for four to six breaths.
You’ll want to keep your elbows stacked above your wrists, if you’re angled at all you’ll be putting terrible pressure on your joints which can lead to injury while at the same time providing a less stable base for your weight.
As you’re building your confidence in the pose you’ll want to start with taking one foot off the ground at a time, alternating as you get comfortable with transferring the weight. Stage one- Rest your right foot on the left heel, swapping to rest your left foot on your right heel. Stage two – Lift your foot without resting it on your heel. Stage three – Begin experimenting with taking both your feet off the ground. You’ll want to build up your endurance in this pose, trying to stay up longer each time you practice until you can hold the pose for the recommended 4-6 breaths.