Yoga is all about controlled movement, breath and balance -- and you'll get a challenge to the balance aspect by attempting to do Crow pose or bakasana. The pose involves resting your knees on the backs of your arms with your feet elevated above the floor. Because your weight rests on your upper body, Crow pose strengthens the arms and core. The trick is to attain equilibrium and to conquer the fear of falling on your face.
Things You'll Need
- Yoga mat
- Yoga block
Lay out your yoga mat and stand on it with your body in the middle, facing one of the mat's short ends. Place a block on its wide side near the top of the mat -- facing you.
Squat and place your hands on the floor, about shoulder-width apart. Spread your fingers wide. With your knees bent, allow your big toes to touch. Press your heels toward the floor, resting them on the floor if you have that level of flexibility in your Achilles tendons..
Bend your elbows slightly and press your heels upward, resting on the balls of your feet as you lean forward to move your shins to rest on the backs of your upper arms, with your knees on the outsides of the upper arms. Squeeze your abdominal muscles to create a solid base of strength and round your back as much as possible.
Point your buttocks toward the ceiling as you squeeze your abdominal muscles and raise your toes off the floor as you exhale deeply. As you do so, your body weight shifts forward, and your elbows should be directly above your hands. If you're not quite ready to lift both feet off the floor, lift one at a time and practice balancing there. Keep your gaze forward throughout the pose and remember to breathe. If you need support, rest your forehead on the block you placed near the top of the mat.
Squeeze your abdominals, exhale and shift backward slightly, allowing the toes and then the heels to come back to the floor to get out of the pose.
Tips & Warnings
- To make the pose more challenging, place your hands closer together on the mat. From the bent-elbow position, press the floor away and straighten your arms.
- To make the pose easier -- or to practice the balancing without actually lifting your toes off the ground -- place a yoga block on the mat, using the lowest block height, under your chest. When you lean forward to place your shins on the backs of your arms, rest your toes on the block. Come up onto the balls of the feet and lift one foot off the block at a time.
- This is an advanced yoga pose, and shouldn't be attempted by beginners or those without at least some level of fitness. You're not far from the floor, but falling on your face is a definite possibility without the requisite level of abdominal strength.
- Photo Credit Alexander Novikov/iStock/Getty Images