I bet most of you tried Bakasana during your yoga classes. As a yoga teacher, I usually hear Bakasana as the Crow Pose. But it is not. The crow pose is called Kakasana, not Bakasana. You might not believe me but most of you tired Kakasana, the crow pose, during your yoga classes. The crow pose is much easier than the crane pose.
Crane Pose in Sanskrit
Kakha is the Sanskrit word that means crow. The posture resembles this bird. It is also known as Bakasana or the crane, but they are not the same. Kakasana is a moderate position of inverted balance on the hands, which seems more difficult than it really is. It requires more balance and concentration than muscle strength in the arms.
In Bakasana you will support the weight of the body with your arms, especially with your wrists. Therefore, it is necessary to have some strength in the arms, although the key to this position lies in the balance.
How to Do the Crane Pose?
Bakasana is an Advanced Yoga posture. It is not the easiest to do, but the truth is that it is less difficult than it seems. With having a physical state between normal and good, and with much practice to gain balance, it is perfectly possible to perform the Bakasana or the Crane Pose.
Remember that in Bakasana you have to put your legs as close to the armpits as possible:
- Start at Tadasana.
- Bend the knees and lower the body until squatting, Malasana, on your mat and separate the knees.
- Rest your hands firmly in front of you, separating the fingers. The arms must be always straight and in tension.
- Touch the back of the arms (where the triceps are) with the knees. Try to make the contact as close as possible to the armpits.
- Lean forward, head forward, and raise your buttocks.
- Go supporting more and more the weight on the arms, until there comes a time when you have to lift the feet of the mat*. Just before lifting them, it fills the lungs.
- When you reach equilibrium, look ahead and maintain your posture between 10 and 30 seconds. The first few times you will hold one or two seconds and you will rest your feet again. Nothing happens, that’s normal.
- Before leaving the Bakasana, empty the lungs and rest one foot on the mat, then the other. Return to the squat position and try again to improve.
- When you do not go to do more repetitions, it ends in Tadasana.
* The best way to get the feet off the mat and be in balance is by testing several times. Alternate so that first you raise one foot, then try the other, and when you are comfortable / or go to try to lift both feet.
Tips for the Beginners
- It is completely normal for a beginner student in yoga, or someone who has never tried to do the crane posture, to be afraid to fall forward, face down. We recommend supporting a cushion on the floor, facing the face. It is very likely that you will not use it, but it will give you additional security to perform Bakasana.
- Initially, you can perform the posture of the crow taking off only one foot from the ground
- It is necessary to gain strength in arms, wrists and upper body. We recommend the practice of chaturanga.
More Tips for Everyone
- The base of the hands must be stable. Separate the fingers and slightly turn the hand inwards.
- When you bend the elbows, they should come out to the sides, not backward.
- If at first, you cannot raise both feet off the ground without losing your balance, raise only one, keeping the other’s tip on the ground, until you feel ready.
- Keep your head erect and your gaze fixed at a point on the floor in front of you.
- You may only be able to maintain your posture for a few seconds at first. With practice, your balance will improve and with it will increase the time of permanence. Until then, have patience and perseverance and repeat the posture 2 or 3 times.
- The more you place your hands on the ground, the better you can take advantage of the power in the arms when lifting the torso and legs and you will have more balance.
- If you’re worried about hitting your face on the ground when you lift your feet and lean forward, put a cushion on the floor.
- Find a fixed point in front of you before lifting your feet and tilting your posture, it will help you find your balance.
- When lifting the legs, join the big toes of the feet and try to approach the calves to the buttocks making a contraction with the muscles of the abdomen.
- Try to maintain these positions a little more each time, without effort, just finding the point of balance.
For the position of the crane pose to be carried out correctly, the following details must be taking caring of:
- Before beginning this asana, make sure your dolls are properly aligned. Once started, it will be difficult to correct your position
- It may happen that initially, and until you get used to Bakasana, you feel a little pain in your arms, just where your knees are resting. This pain should diminish as you perfect this pose. If not decrease, check with your instructor.
- Let the gaze be fixed on a point on the ground. That should serve to seek balance
- The legs should be flexed and open. They should lean on the arms and point with the knees towards the armpits.
- Let the feet seek mutual contact
- The arms extend and the pelvis rises
- The trunk should be aligned
- The thorax should be expanded
Benefits of the Crane Pose
- Increase strength in arms, wrists, and shoulders
- Reinforce inner thighs, abdominals, and sacrum
- Stretches the upper back
- Open the groin
- Improves the lung capacity.
- Improves concentration and balance.
- It brings calm and mental clarity.
With time and when you can perform this asana in a complete and sustained, you will see how it is one of the positions that help you feel stronger and gain safety in the use of arms for any other yoga posture.
The Crane Pose is the balance of arms that seems terrifying than it is. It challenges you to concentrate on getting up against falling. You are supporting your weight in your hands, and that requires facing the fear of falling face down. The crane animates the body consciousness and sharpens the mind-body connection while flying in the air.
It is the perfect balance to maintain and let go, invites you to accept your fears and embrace the courage to fly.
The Crane Pose is an incredible full-body workout. It strengthens the arm, as well as strengthens the wrists, upper back, and legs. While it is easier to use the strength of your legs against the back of your arms for the pose, you will gain more physical benefit by using your core to lift it.
Over time, it can be fun to move from the Crane Pose by raising yourself in an inverted one like Pinchahalasana, and return to the crow!
In addition, the Crane also opens the groin and tones the abdominal organs. The posture extends the upper part of the back, helps to reduce the burning and acidity of the solar plexus, and increases the flexibility and elasticity of the spine.
The Crane encourages inner focus and concentration in the present. It also represents the justice and longevity. Strengthens the sacral chakra, also known as the second chakra.
The Sacral Chakra among other things works our connection and ability to accept others and new experiences. Over time, this asana connects us with our feelings, emotions and creative energy for the work in unlocking this important chakra.
If you suffer wrist injury or spondylitis, you should not do this exercise!
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
Crane Pose Variations
Ardha Bakasana – The Half Crane Pose
If you have paid attention to the instructions of the Bakasana, you will know that the main posture is done with the arms outstretched. In this variant, no.
It is done like this:
- Follow the first two steps of the normal Crane Pose.
- When you touch your hands on the mat, in front of you and with your fingers apart, do it, but not with your arms outstretched. Support the forearms, in addition to the hands.
- The knees must contact the arms, as we have seen previously.
- Lean forward and push yourself to lift the feet of the mat. In this case, keeping the balance is much easier, thanks to the forearms supported.
- When you reach 10-30 seconds, leave the Bakasana
The position of the Crane on its side requires a lot of strength in the wrists, arms and abs. It is constructed by placing the hands on the ground and turning the rest of the trunk to the side. The deeper we enter the torsion, the easier it will be to carry out this position.
We support the knees on the forearm, closest to the armpit and away from the elbow. Then we have to raise our heels and from the knees to the arm, we are transferring all our weight “letting us fall forward”. I put it in quotation marks because that is when we activate all the muscles of the abdomen and legs to bring our weight upwards distributing the force. If we literally let ourselves fall, we will lose balance and we will hurt our wrists.
Standing Crane Pose
In Sanskrit, it is called Nidra Kokkusanam.
The Yoga Posture that is most related to the Crane Posture is the Kakasana. They are very similar and, in fact, sometimes they are confused or spoken of as if they were the same.
The difference between Kakasana and Bakasana is that in the first the arms are bent at right angles, but not supported by the mat as in the Ardha Bakasana variant, but the forearms are vertical.
The name in English of the Kakasana is Posture of the Crow.
Eka Hasta Bhujasana
The Eka Hasta Bhujasana is a similar posture in the sense that only hands are used as the support, the arms are stretched and one of the legs rests on an arm.
One Legged Crane Pose
It is Eka Pada Bakasana in Sanskrit. This variant is like the main one, except for one of the legs, which is stretched upwards.
You can use blocks or a chair if you find it difficult to do the crane pose.
Bakasana is suitable for yoga with two people too. You can try this pose with your partner. Your partner can help you by standing in front of you. As you lean forward he/she will hold your shoulders with your hands, to keep you from falling forward.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Baddha Konasana
What’s the Difference between the Crane Pose and Cow Pose
Crane – Bakasana
- Arms extended
- Higher and slender position upwards
- Back slightly rounded
- Knees supported as close as possible to the armpits without protruding
- Feet together
Cow – Kakasana
- Arms flexed at an angle of 90 degrees
- Lower and more compact position
- Straight back
- Knees resting on the elbows or on the back of the arms and out
- Toes together as ‘wings’