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Arm Balancing: Crow Pose is a foundational arm balancing posture. Deep core engagement: To achieve balance in crow pose, you need to engage your core muscles, including the abdominals and the deep stabilising muscles. This helps maintain stability and control throughout the pose. Arm and Upper Body Strength: Crow Pose strengthens the muscles of the arms, including the biceps, triceps, and muscles of the forearm. Regular practice can lead to increased upper body strength and improved muscle tone. Balance and Focus: Balancing on the hands in Crow Pose requires concentration and focus. The pose cultivates mindfulness and body awareness, helping to improve concentration and balance both on and off the mat. Mental Benefits: Crow Pose challenges you to face and overcome fears, as it involves balancing on the hands and trusting your own strength. It can boost self-confidence and enhance mental resilience. Energy and Vitality: It can leave you feeling energised and rejuvenated.
Wrist or shoulder injuries: Individuals with wrist or shoulder injuries or issues should approach Crow pose with caution. The pose places significant weight on the hands and wrists, which can aggravate existing injuries or cause strain. It's important to modify or avoid the pose if it causes discomfort or pain. Recent abdominal surgery: Those who have recently undergone abdominal surgery, such as hernia repair or abdominal muscle repair, should avoid or modify Crow pose. The pressure on the abdomen and the engagement of the core muscles may strain the healing tissues. Pregnancy: Pregnant individuals may avoid Crow pose, especially as the pregnancy progresses. The pose involves deep core engagement and balancing on the hands, which may not be suitable during pregnancy.
Shoulder Protraction : Cat Stretch to press the floor away and round in between the shoulders. Wrist Stretches: Begin with wrist stretches to warm up and prepare the wrists for weight-bearing. This can include gentle wrist circles, wrist flexion and extension stretches, and hand and finger stretches. Core Strengthening: Incorporate core-strengthening exercises such as Boat Pose or tuck positions to build strength in the abdominal muscles and improve stability. Arm and Shoulder Strengthening: Practice poses like Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose), Dolphin Pose, and Push-ups to strengthen the arms, shoulders, and upper body. Hip Opening: Perform hip-opening poses like Malasana (Garland Pose) and Frog Pose to increase flexibility in the hips and groins, which can help create more space for the legs to rest on the upper arms.
1 - Begin in a squatting position 2 - Place your hands approx shoulder-width apart on the mat. 3 - Lean forward, engage your core, lift your hips. 4 - Balance your knees on the back or sides of your upper arms, shifting your weight forward. 5 - Allow 1 foot or both to lift. “Place your palms firmly on the mat, fingers spread wide.” “Engage your fingertips and knuckles for a strong foundation.” “Draw your knees onto the backs or sides of your arms, finding a snug connection with your legs.” “Engage your inner thighs and squeeze them towards each other to help lift and support the pose.” “Lean your torso forward, shifting your weight into your hands, and engage your core by pulling your belly button in towards your spine.” “Lift your hips higher, focusing on creating a strong line of energy from your hands through your core to your hips.” “Keep your gaze slightly forward, allowing your neck to be in a neutral position.”
Hand Assistance: You can place your hands, cupping the student's shoulders to provide stability and reassurance. This can help them feel grounded and supported as they lean into your hands and balance on theirs. Lift Assistance: If the student is struggling to lift their feet off the ground, you can gently place your hands at their hip creases and offer a slight pull / lift. This can help them find the sensation of floating and build confidence in the pose.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana): This backbend pose stretches the chest and shoulders, strengthens the back muscles, and opens the front of the body. Camel Pose (Ustrasana): This deep backbend pose stretches the entire front of the body, including the chest, abdomen, and hip flexors. It helps to improve spinal flexibility and opens the heart center. Fish Pose (Matsyasana): This gentle backbend pose opens the chest, throat, and shoulders. It can counteract the rounding of the upper back in Crow Pose and create a nice stretch across the front of the body. Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana): This seated pose draws the legs together and stretches the chest, shoulders, and upper arms. It opens the front of the body and promotes better posture.
"See the variations,
simple to complex"
1 Blocks : Placing blocks under the hands can provide additional lift and support, making it easier to balance in Crow Pose. This variation can be helpful for beginners or those working on building confidence in the pose. The blocks can be used in most of the variations below to ease. 2 Head Support : Use a block or bolster underneath the head to support the pose and take away the fear of falling. 3 Crow Headstand : Tripod headstand with the legs in crow. Lift up into full headstand and transition back. Inversion benefits and core strength. 4 Baby Crow : Crow balancing on the forearms. Great for those that would rather be off the hands. 5 Half Baby Crow : One side on the forearm and the other standard crow. 6 Crow Outer Arm Placement : Hug the knees into the arms. Pelvis is a little lower so less ‘scary’. 7 Crow Elbow Placement : A little higher and can sometimes be challenging to find a stable spot on the arm below the tricep to balance on. Once you’ve found the spot, this option can build to the one legged version. 8 Crane Pose (Bakasana): The elbows are fully extended, which requires additional arm strength and stability and the knees are higher up on the arms, closer to the armpits. This variation intensifies the challenge and builds more upper body strength. 9 Reverse Hands : Adds balance challenge. 10 Fingertip : Strengthen the fingers. 11 Half Firefly : A bit more inner thigh and hamstring stretch. 12 Flying Pigeon Tucked (Eka Pada Galavasana Variation): Balance on the hands with one leg crossed over the upper arm, the same figure 4 position of Pigeon Pose. This pose requires quite a bit of external rotation at the hip, which isn’t accessible to all. Keeping the back leg bent is less intense than the next. 13 Flying Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Galavasana): As above but shift the weight slightly more forward to counterbalance the back leg as it extends behind. 14 One-Legged Crow Pose: In this variation, one leg is lifted off the knee and extended behind. This variation adds an additional challenge to your balance and core strength. 15 Flying Lizard : (Eka Pada Koundinyasana EPK II Variation) : Lower than the One Legged Crow. Reach the chest forward to leverage the balance of the extended back leg. You can rest the back hip on the elbow too for added support and get a feel for the full version. 16 Flying Lizard Hooked Variation (EPK II Variation): Keep both legs bent, one hooked squeezing in, the other kicks upward working the back of the leg and glutes. 17 Flying Lizard Hooked (EPK II Variation) : Added challenge of straightening the back leg and working against the pull of gravity. 18 Flying Splits (EPK II) : Takes a fair amount of ‘split’ flexibility; the back of the front leg and front of the back leg, and strength in the reverse; quads in the front and hamstrings at the back in order to straighten both knees.
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