Crow Pose: The Coolest Arm Balance

Crow pose, also known as Bakasana or Kakasana, is my favorite arm balance. Before I started learning yoga, I saw someone do this pose. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, and I decided I would learn to do it. There was a significant trial and error process.

Let me tell you from experience, once you fall on your face the first time, it won’t hold you back anymore. However, you need to make sure to set yourself up for success. What does this mean?

Avoid carpets. Yes, carpet will make falls less painful, but too plush a carpet will make it trickier for you to balance. I prefer to do Crow pose on a mat over a hard floor. If you’re worried about tipping forward and hitting your head, place a folded blanket just in front of your hands. This way, it won’t interfere with your set-up.

Warm-up. Actually, you should warm-up quite a bit before doing this pose. You want to open your hips and shoulders. Also, you want to activate your abdominals so they can lift you. Some postures that I recommend are Uttanasana, Malasana, Downward facing dog, some Sun Salutations, Navasana (Boat pose), Garudasana (Eagle pose), and Balasana (Child’s pose)Please warm-up.

It’s possible that coming into Malasana (Squat) may be challenging. In my explanation of how to do Malasana, I give some suggestions for how to use props. These suggestions are also applicable here since we begin and end in a squat.

If Malasana just isn’t for you, neither is Crow pose. You really need to be in a good squat form before going into Crow pose. Always pay attention to your body. If you think something hurts or something isn’t working right, stop immediately.

I’m going to take a second here to advise you to consult your physician before starting any new exercises or exercise programs.

Crow Pose

  1. I recommend doing several postures to warm-up before this exercise. You want to open your hips and shoulders. Also, you want to activate your abdominals so they can lift you. Some postures that I recommend are Uttanasana, Malasana, Downward facing dog, some Sun Salutations, Navasana (Boat pose), Garudasana (Eagle pose), and Balasana (Child’s pose).
  2. Once you have warmed up, follow steps 1-7 of Malasana (Squat).
  3. Bring your triceps (backs of your arms) to the inside of your leg. You want your inside of your knee to be resting on the back of your arm away from your elbow. If your knee is too close to your elbow, it will slip off.
  4. Release your hands and place them on the floor. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart, with your fingers spread. Make sure your middle finger is pointing forward.
  5. Bakasana, Crow poseMove your gaze so that you’re looking several inches forward of your hands. If you look straight down at your hands, you will fall on your head.
  6. Raise up onto the balls of your feet and begin shifting your weight toward your arms.
  7. Make any sort of adjustments that you feel like you may need. It’s okay to play around with how your legs are placed on your arms.
  8. Find your focus, engage your abs, and lift one foot off the ground. If you feel solid, lift the other foot, too. If you don’t feel solid, practice having one foot lifted at a time. Try to challenge yourself to transition briefly with both feet lifted before one foot lowers.
  9. Hold for 5-8 breaths. If you need to come down and take a break before that, that’s fine. 5-8 breaths is a goal.

Crow Pose Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

What do you think of Crow pose? What helps you find your balance? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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