Practicing inversions like Crow Pose can be extremely intimidating. They require a delicate combination of 4 key principles – focus, balance, flexibility and strength. If it’s your first time going head first in a yoga pose, you’ll need to muster up a little courage and have enough humility to accept that you WILL fall. On your face. On your bum. And possibly on your dog (sorry, Nina 🙈 ). All this being said, inversions are an incredibly rewarding art form and something that you can gain much joy and satisfaction from.
There are many different variations of arm balances but my personal favorite is Crow Pose (Bakasana). It’s one of my ‘go-to’ poses – hence the photo above where I was trying to figure out what in the world I could do on that tree branch. Don’t worry, you can practice this pose safely on the ground like a normal, sane person. 😉
In all seriousness, Crow is a fantastic beginner level inversion and was actually the first arm balance I ever felt comfortable in. Before you begin, be sure to set up a little “fall zone” – a pillow on the front of your mat where you may land if things go array. Your nose will thank you later.
Ready to start flying? Let’s get started.
Wrist Warm Ups
Inversions like Crow require you to hold yourself up with your hands. This in turn puts a lot of strain and pressure on the wrists. The following are a few simple wrist stretches and exercises that you can do to help minimize the risk of injury.
Massage Ball Squeeze: Hold for 10 seconds per hand
Core Warm Ups
Crow Pose may seem like it’s all about upper body strength, however it’s really your core that’s doing the work. In order to avoid dumping your weight into your wrists, you need to ensure that your abdominal muscles are activated. Practice bracing your abs as if someone was about to punch them, or in yogi speak, make sure that you’re drawing your belly button into your spine.
Plank Pose: Hold for 30 seconds
Chaturanga: Hold for 15 seconds
Boat Pose: Hold for 1 minute
Hip Warm Up
Malasana (Yogi Squat/Garland Pose) is a great way to warm up the hip flexors and get your body used to Crow Pose alignment. I like to hold this for 1 minute but timing can vary depending on how your body feels. Always, always, always listen to your body.
Side note – my boyfriend, Bay, thinks this is the silliest looking pose ever and this photo was shot with lots of laughs.
Now for the fun stuff…
Crow Pose Step-By-Step
Start by positioning your hands shoulder width apart and placing palms firmly on the ground. Spread your fingers and squat down so you’re resting on the balls of your feet.
Lift your seat high in the air and straighten the arms. Distribute the weight evenly across your palms and fingers and tuck your knees as close to your armpits as possible.
Using the back of your arms as “shelves”, start to bend your elbows and lean forward. Rest your shins on your upper arms, round your back and squeeze your abdominal muscles.
Find a single point in front of you to focus your gaze. Tighten your legs and slowly lift one foot off the ground, drawing the heel closer to your bottom.
Once you are stable, float the other foot off the ground to meet the other. This is an extremely active pose, meaning every muscle from your hands, to your abs, to your toes, should be engaged.
Keep breathing. Inhale slowly in and exhale out. Be mindful of how you feel in this pose. If you are in need of a break, slowly come back to your feet to rest before trying again.
If this position comes easily to you, try practicing the advanced variation (Crane Pose). From Crow, start to straighten your arms and squeeze your abs. Keep your legs tightly tucked underneath your seat.
I hope you all enjoyed this tutorial! I’m thinking of posting new yoga tips every Tuesday so leave a comment if there’s something you’d like to see! I’d also love to see pics of you practicing Crow Pose. If you share a photo on Instagram please tag me so I can see how awesome you’re doing (and cheer you on!).
Wishing you all love, light, and of course, lots of fun.
*This tutorial was styled by Karma Athletics. H&H readers can receive 10% off any purchase by using code: headstands10
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*Please note that I am not a certified yoga instructor. All tips provided are solely gained from my own personal practice.