Many teachers and even our YDL pose guide, offer these two poses as if they’re interchangeable. The primary difference is that in Bakasana (crane pose) your arms are straight and the knees should be tucked up high into your armpits. In Kakasana (crow pose), the one we seem to practice more, the arms are bent and it’s often taught as creating a shelf with your triceps or chaturanga arms for your legs.
Both postures require a great deal of core strength, fearlessness and focus. Usually we tell students that if they’re strong enough for chatarangua, they’re strong enough for crow. Or crane. Getting over the fear of falling is the biggest obstacle. If you’re new to arm balances, try this with a pillow at the top of your mat.
Why: It’s considered the gateway arm balance and prepares you for more challenging arm balances.
*Strengthens your core and upper body, including arms, shoulders and wrists. *Develops focus, balance and a quiet mind.
*Encourages confidence, grounding and a smile.
How: For purposes of this article, we’ll guide you into both poses—which almost feel like two versions of the same pose.
1. Take a deep breath and visualize yourself light and free as a bird. You can do this.
2. Start from Malasana or Garland Pose. Squat down near the top of your mat with your feet wider than your hips. Shift forward onto the balls of your feet and place your hands shoulder distance apart on the mat. Alignment is important here so, make sure your hands are facing forward. Spread the fingers and root down into the knuckles.
3. Shift your weight forward and place your knees as high up on your triceps— think close to your armpits—as you can. Gaze toward the top of your mat. Make
sure to keep looking forward and avoid the tendency to look down. Remember that our body tends to follow the gaze and we want to fly. Hug your legs into your ribcage.
4. Lift one foot up off the floor and then the other as you engage your core, breathe deeply and lift off. Draw your big toes to touch. You’re now in Kakasana with bent elbows. Stay here for ten breaths. If you want to move on...
5. Bakasana has straight arms so, maintain your core engagement as you straighten the arms and hug the knees into the armpits.
6. If you need some props to assist you, try starting with both feet perched on a yoga block. This way you won’t have to lift so far to lift up into the posture. Alternatively, you could place a block underneath your forehead to rest upon as you lift up. Then, when you’re in the pose, lift the forehead from the block.
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