3 Tips for Crow Pose

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Crow pose was the first arm balance I learned, and I remember how tough it was to me at that time. It's hard to convince your brain not to freak out when you're going upside down in an inversion or lifting off in an arm balance like Crow. There is a real fear of literally falling on your face. Any inversion or arm balance requires practice. Getting comfortable (mentally) when lifting off or going upside down can be one of the main hurdles.I write this post to encourage you if you're working on Crow because with the right alignment and enough practice, you can do it, too. ​

Let's clear up one thing about Crow (this may be the best tip of all): just because it's a "balance" pose, does not mean that you lift up to a magic balancing point. No, no, no. If you are in Crow, it's because you have the strength to be there and the strength to hold it. Never forget that. It's a balance pose that you achieve by strength. Arms and core strength are very necessary for crow.Don't let that throw you off, though. Just keep practicing and have fun with it. You'll get it.

3 Tips For Crow Pose (Bakasana):• Foundation.
You absolutely must learn to set up a good foundation for any arm balance. Set the hands down mindfully and fan your fingers out as much as you can. The more you can spread your fingers, the wider and sturdier your base will be. Press your hands into the mat actively; fingertips point forward. I say it all the time to my classes: just like a house needs a foundation, so do your yoga poses. Don't skip this step; it's essential.

• Gaze.
There is a tendency to look straight down in between your hands while in Crow. Don't. Look at your hands and triangulate a point out in front of your two hands. Look there. In yoga, our gaze is referred to as drishti. (Want to know more about that? Read this post of mine on Drishti.) Where we gaze helps with our poses, especially in balance poses. Set your gaze out in front of your hands and relax your face and jaw.

• Get over your fear of falling.
Easier said than done, but it's not as scary as you think. I've fallen on my face several times practicing arm balances (ha!), and while it may not be comfortable or preferable, it's not that bad. If you're nervous about it, get some pillows or a big fluffy sofa cushion and put it in front of you to break your (possible) fall. You could also practice outside in the the soft grass.

Try those 3 tips and give it a real effort to practice consistently.

Here's what I tell the yogis I teach: try a 30 day challenge where you attempt Crow pose every single day. Spend 5 minutes on it. Write it on your planner so that you won't forget a day. Take a picture on day 1, and then another on day 30. Notice if you transition into the pose easier, can hold it longer, can breathe easier while in it, or feel stronger in it. All of these signs are indications that you are making progress. You may not have perfected it at the end of 30 days, but the point is to make progress. When you get Crow down, you'll be able to add all kinds of fun to it. Crane pose (the photo at the very top of this post) is basically just pressing up to straighter arms... then there's side crow and flying crow.

To be honest, you'll never perfect a yoga pose. You're never done. If that's what you're focused on, you've missed the whole point of yoga. There's always room to keep learning and growing. What you learn about yourself and how you grow as a person is what yoga is all about.

Love & Light.

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