Tonnes of my students are keen to fly in crow posture 'Bakasana' and who am I to stop them? Here are some tips to getting into crow but please remember that there is no scientific evidence saying you're a better yogi or more enlightened because you can do Bakasana (insert any yoga pose here).....
But despite knowing this everyone seems to go through the phase in yoga of wanting to fly on our arms alone- and I mean really wanting to. (So did I!)
So here's some tips for doing bakasana. But remember to just enjoy trying. Do a little everyday and you'll notice micro improvements.
1) Core strength
It's kind of obvious that you need arm strength for this. But also your core is important, it's like a crunch, but harder. So prepare your core and remember to squeeze it. Poses like double leg lifts and lying in Bakasana position but on your back can get your core used to it.
2) Don't fear falling
So you're only floating about a foot above the ground. If you fall or slip on a kerb you're falling much much further. It's more like slipping off an armchair. That can hurt if you do it awkwardly, but usually it's more funny. True, I've fallen on my nose before, and that hurt. So if you're falling that way, towards your face aim for your cheek if you can but ideally just lift your head and lean back to your feet. A good tip someone gave me once was to put a pillow under your face when you're playing with the pose. It mentally makes you braver!
3) Protecting your wrists
You see from the picture I posted that the wrists are going through some serious extension! and then some. So you can get these handle bar type contraptions which you hold instead which help your wrists. Or after and before stretch your wrist the other way (flexion like a sock puppet) to counter balance it. Just wor up slowly building strength and if it hurts, stop. Here is an extensive article on wrist protection.
4) Get into the pose
- Start with Malasana
- Squeeze your upper arms with your knees
-Place your hands in front of you on the ground (it depends on your body's proportions but probably a foot in front of you) usual tips to spread the weight through the hands and keep the wrist crease parallel with the front edge of the mat
- As you become more advanced you squeeze shoulders/armpits but start just squeezing your upper arms.
- Straighten your arms, raise your bum in the air and come up to tip toes
-Stay here and build strength by raising one foot after another
- Look more forward, but still on the ground. Your head moves forward and raise your bum until you feel the weight in your toes decreasing
- Squeeze the core and lift your feet off the floor
-Eventually straighten out your arms
Eventually you'll be playing with jumping in and out and side crows, but for now lets just fly normally hey?
Hope that helps my little Crow-ees. And just play, accept wherever you are and remember the goal is not to have a goal but to enjoy the journey....(cheese!)
Articles and practices:
Yoga journal article on Bakasana with a little more detail
Kino Macgregor gives an excellent preparatory practice here, it's on Gaiam TV so you may need a free trial but it builds you up slowly!
Why do it at all?
Core, arms, focus and to balance chills you out.
How could I get that without flying?
Crunches on your back
Prep poses like in point 4
Virabhadrasana 3 (for the balance and focus)
Head butt from your cat (below) is optional!!!