Crow pose is one of the foundational arm balances in the yoga practice. Practicing this posture will open the door to a world of arm balances and fun transitions on your mat! Crow pose may seem daunting at first glance, but if you focus on the individual components of the posture, you will one day find that these little pieces easily add up to the whole. With enough practice, patience, and perseverance, you may soon find yourself lifting up into the arm balance!
Here are 5 techniques that may allow you to lift off with more ease:
1. Set Your Foundation:
A strong foundation creates the basis of a strong posture. Begin by planting your palms shoulder-width apart, with your fingers spread wide and spaced evenly. Press down into all four corners of your palms (the mounds, index and pinky fingers, and the inner and outer heels of your hand) to evenly distribute your weight. You may need to apply more pressure to the inner side of your hand (the mounds below the index fingers and thumbs) since your weight typically shifts toward the outer edges of your hands. Then, grip the mat with your fingertips as if you are a cat clawing at it. Keep the roots of your fingers and the pads of your fingers firmly grounded. Imagine that the center of your palm is a suction cup lifting off the floor, but still sealed to the mat by the corners of your palms.
2. Squeeze Into the Midline of the Body:
Your abductor muscles (which run along your inner thighs and, when contracted, draw the legs toward each other) are some of the strongest players in crow pose. In order to take flight and stay lifted, these muscles need to be fully engaged. Targeting the abductors is actually quite simple: just hug your legs in toward the midline of your body.
3. Engage the Bandhas (locks):
The bandhas are locks created within the body to facilitate the flow of energy to either be released or constricted. In the case of crow pose, you want to constrict the flow of energy to the lower body so you can more easily shift your weight against the force of gravity.
4. Round Your Upper Back:
With the bandhas engaged, you can truly begin to tap into the power of your core. The core is the single most important aspect of every arm balance. To awaken your core strongly in crow pose, round your spine. Think about creating a “cat pose” shape with your back, hugging your belly button in toward your back body, and actively pressing the floor away from you with your hands.
5. Look Forward & Lean Forward:
Where you focus your energy and attention (also known as your Drishti) is very important in yoga practice. When in crow pose, keep your eyes focused on where you want to go—forward, not down!