Bakasana - Crane Pose
Probably the most commonly seen two-handed arm balance in yoga classes, and for good reason too. It’s one of those poses that once well practiced and understood can cultivate the proper actions necessary for even more challenging handbalancings.

Because this pose is so common, I find that many teachers do not actually “teach” the pose, but rather call the asana out amid difficult vinyasa sequences. All of this can leave students who are not able to do bakasana feeling left out, “waiting” for the handbalancing madness to be over.

Hopefully this post will shed some light on this challenging pose and will help all of us to feel more confident and powerful practicing this handbalance. Maybe it will even encourage some of you to finally give it a go and take flight!

Breathing
Breathe normally in the final position.

How To
  1. Squat on the floor.
  2. Place the hands on the floor, arms slightly wider than shoulder width apart, elbows bent and fingers pointing forward.
  3. Lean forward, rolling onto the toes so that the knees come on top of the triceps near to the armpits.
  4. Lean further forward until the toes start to lift off the floor.
  5. Bring the feet together and pull the knees close to the stomach and the heels close to the buttocks.
  6. Advanced students can straighten the arms as much as possible, moving further forward over the hands to maintain balance.
  7. Remain in the pose for 20 - 30 seconds or as long as possible.
  8. Slowly lower the toes back to the mat.
Refinements
Once you’ve figured out how to take lift off and balance there for a couple of breaths, the next step is trying to fully straighten your arms. There’s no doubt about it that this move does require more arm/upper body strength to pull of, but the real key is in understanding how to move your body into the optimal shape to make this move more accessible.

Benefits
Anatomical - Strengthens the arms, abdomen and legs. Improves balance.

Remember
  • The pose requires a great deal of concentration to enter and hold the pose.
  • Focus on one spot to assist in balancing.
  • Do not try to jump into the pose, the feet will lift off the floor naturally when leaning forward.
  • Try lifting one foot at a time to help find the balance and while building arm muscle strength.

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