HOW TO PRACTICE Crane Pose IN YOGA (Bakasana)
Benefits, How to Instructions, Modifications, and Common Alignment Mistakes for Crane Pose
Bakasana (Crane Pose) a member of the family of yoga arm balances, is a thrilling challenge for many. The off-balance position of the body, combined with the coordination required to achieve the yoga posture, invites you to venture beyond your comfort zone to find the happy medium between strength and balance.
Much success and well-being in life depends upon finding balance—the “happy medium,” or “sweet spot” between extremes. Crane Pose offers practice in finding a physical version of that sweet spot.
Crane Pose requires a strong core, a strong and stable shoulder girdle, and a modicum of courage to float your face above the floor. Although this yoga pose will strengthen your wrists, it requires quite a bit of wrist flexion and steadiness to begin with. Make sure your wrists are ready for the challenge before attempting it!
Benefits of Crane Pose
Balancing on your hands with your face hovering above the ground can be a thrilling experience. This yoga posture, when practiced mindfully, can inspire confidence and develop a focused clarity of mind.
Crane Pose is a powerhouse move for your muscles. In addition to your abdominal core, it will strengthen and tone the muscles that support your spine and your inner thighs. As with all arm balancing yoga poses, your upper back, shoulders, arms, and wrists will gain strength and tone. Be careful not to overextend the cervical spine in order to avoid straining your neck. When practiced correctly, Bakasana is an opportunity to cultivate length in the cervical spine and stretch the upper back. This asana will also provide a challenge to your hip flexors and groin.
Basic Crane Pose
To practice this version of Crane Pose, you will need two yoga blocks.
- Start by setting up your first block on its lowest height at about the halfway point of your mat. Have the second block within arm’s reach.
- “Perch” yourself on the low block, coming into a squat, with the big toes touching each other.
- Take your knees wider than your hands, and place your hands shoulders-width apart on the ground at least 12 inches from the yoga block you’re standing on. Take a look at your wrists: make sure your wrist creases are parallel to the top edge of your mat.
- Push down firmly into your finger pads, and then lift your hips high into the air.
- Plant your knees into your upper arms, close to your armpits. Squeeze your knees into your upper arms, feeling the abdomen draw back toward your back.
- Lean your weight forward into your arms, microbending at the elbows. Round up through your back, while drawing your chest forward.
- Continue leaning your weight forward, and, if it feels accessible, lift your feet up toward your hips.
Using the Second Block Under Your Forehead
- On your second pass of Crane Pose, you might want to try placing your second block on its highest height about 2-3 feet in front of the first block.
- As you shift your weight forward and begin to lift your toes off the first block, let your forehead tap down on the yoga block in front of you. From here you can play with lifting your gaze, bringing the head off the block’s support.
- Finally, after you have practiced Crane Pose with the support of the blocks, try coming into the yoga pose without them. You may want to place a folded blanket on the mat in front of you just in case you end up tipping forward and landing on your head. Work your way up to staying for a few breaths.
- Release from this asana by standing in a forward fold with your hands underneath your feet. Face your palms up to meet the soles of your feet.