Crow pose may look advanced, but it’s actually one of the first arm balances that yoga students learn. When I made my first successful attempt at crow pose, I was surprised to realize that the key to balancing was more about my core rather than my arm strength. Crow pose will strengthen your arms as it is weight bearing, but your balance comes from scooping in your abdominals deep enough to get your upper back rounded and your hips high. The pose not only improves overall muscle tone, but it also stretches your upper back, hands, and forearms. Mentally, you will build focus and calm. It is not recommended to do this pose if you have wrist or shoulder injuries or are past your first trimester of pregnancy.
1. Begin by squatting on your mat with your feet shoulder distance apart. Separate your thighs so that your torso can fit in between them. Place your hands on the mat in front of your feet about shoulder distance apart, making sure to spread your fingers evenly.
2. Transfer your weight forward onto your hands. Your heels will lift. Try to get your knees as close to your armpits as possible.
3. Keeping your elbows in line with your shoulders, bend the elbows slightly to make a shelf for your knees. Your gaze should be forward on the ground in front of your hands.
4. Continue to lean forward as you scoop your abs in, rounding the back. Engaging your core will allow you to achieve balance in the pose while further strengthening your abs. Lift one foot off the ground and find your balance.
5. Lift the other foot off the ground and find your balance as your hips lift into the air.
6. You want to feel a continuous lifting of the weight of your torso as your hips rise to pitch your weight forward. Bring your heels in towards your butt and touch your big toes together if possible.
If you fall out of the balance, keep your core engaged to soften the landing on your feet. You can also place blankets on the floor where your head would land in the case that you fall forward. Another option if you fear falling forward is practicing in front of a wall with the top of your head touching the wall for support. Keep trying and don’t forget to breathe steadily. If you are able to balance in crow pose, you can attempt to straighten your arms and lift the hips and legs even higher for more of a challenge.
With practice, your balance, strength, and confidence will improve and you’ll realize that Crow Pose isn’t as intimidating as it looks.
What’s your favorite arm balance?
Get more like this–sign up for our newsletter for exclusive inspirational content!
Photo: Crystal Chin