Most people who want to do Crow Pose are able to do it on the first or second try with these simple tips, which can help you practice in a safe manner. My students are always excited and relieved after doing Crow — usually it turns out that all they needed was the right guidance.
Many people often confuse Crow Pose (Kakasana) with Crane Pose (Bakasana). In Crane Pose, your knees are up toward your armpits and your arms are ideally straight. In Crow Pose, however, the arms stay bent and the knees rest on the backs of the elbows.
Crane Pose is trickier because it requires more flexibility and core strength. With enough practice, you'll eventually fly into the full execution of both these poses. But first, let's conquer Crow.
Helpful tips while practicing Crow Pose:
1. Say to yourself, I can do this!
2. Remind yourself that you are safe because you are only a few inches away from the floor if you fall.
2b. If you do fall, do not leap out of the pose and catch yourself on your hands. Try landing safely on the crown of your head, and then pick yourself back up and try again. If you need to place a pillow underneath where your head might land, that could help to get over the fear of falling. You won’t hurt yourself if you move slowly and deliberately.
3. Practice consciously and methodically, with patience and persistence.
Come into a low squat with your heels lifted and your feet hips-width apart. Place your elbows on the inside of your knees, in the flat surface just above the bend of the knee. Push your elbows out and lift your hands up so that the palms of the hands are facing forward.
Lean gently forward and place your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart in front of you, and not below your shoulder. Don’t jump into this position! Keep your head lifted.
Push your hands into the floor as you lift your hips and bend your elbows until they are creating a 90-degree angle. It will seem a little scary at first (as if you are looking over the Grand Canyon), but I promise that you're only a few inches away from the floor.
Check your arms to ensure they are bent just enough. Because of fear, we tend to keep those arms straighter. Don’t do that. Bend them 90 degrees and trust yourself.
Lift your right foot up slowly, as you continue to activate your arms and core. Hold here for a moment so that you can make sure you are stable.
Now, it's time to lift up your left leg and find your balance and leverage. Maintain those arms at that 90 degree angle. Keep looking forward in front of your hands. Take 5 deep breaths here, or however many breaths your body can do today.
Gently place your feet back on the floor one at a time and enjoy a moment of “Holy moly, I did it!”
Start with holding the pose for one second, and keep moving your way up, second by second as you build up strength. Take time to rest your wrists.
Gallery Credit: Nicholas Oscoff/mindbodygreen