Crow Pose, Bakasana teaches us so many lessons. One of my favorites is how to let go of the past and live here in the present, just as we are. It’s impossible to balance in this pose if you are afraid of what lies in front of you or if you are weighed down by beliefs from your past. This arm balance requires us to breathe and find steadiness in the present.
It also asks us to have courage as we move forward into the unknown. I remember when I first started learning this pose. I just couldn’t get forward enough for my feet to stay off the floor. I was determined to succeed with this pose so I kept at it. Sometimes frustration won and I’d give up for a couple days. Eventually, I built up the courage to give myself permission to go too far forward. I leaned into the other side of the pendulum and toppled too far forward, landing on my head.
Once I realized that wasn’t so bad (the blanket under my head softened my landing) I felt free to play with the pose. When I let go of the fear I could go forward, I could go back and I was free to find myself soaring in the middle. And that is exactly what happened. Once I felt both sides of the posture, I was able to fly. It felt so great!
At first, I could fly for a breath or two. Now, many years later I can find the pose just about anywhere for as long as I choose. I feel free as a cloud to float in the sky. To soar, free as a bird. To be just me.
As we work on Bakasana this month, let yourself play. Don’t try to fit anyone else’s mold of what the pose is supposed to look like. Give yourself permission to be right where you are. Stay in a high squat, get the hands on the floor. Perhaps lift one leg. Some people who have been practicing Crow for a long time might move it into a tripod headstand or jump back into a plank.
A few tips to help you where you are:
- Which ever version is right for you, be sure that you are breathing first and foremost. It is so easy to hold the breath in this pose.
- Placing the knees higher on the triceps, near the shoulders will keep you more lifted rather than knees down by the elbows.
- Once the hands are on the floor, look forward. This engages the trapezius muscles in the upper back and neck.
- Feel a sense of lifting through the hips and pull the navel in towards the spine, engaging the core.
- Once the feet lift off the floor, bring the toes together, creating a synergistic centered line of energy.
As you watch your crow pose this month, notice the physical benefits of upper body strength, and hip and lower back openness. Also, notice the less tangible benefits of joy, confidence and a sense of empowerment grow within.
Have fun! Let me know if you have any questions!