There are more demanding yoga postures, which require a certain amount of skill and physical fitness to be performed. One of them is the so-called crane posture or bakasana, a balance asana on the arms that, as Tatiana Noguera, a teacher specialized in yoga for women and founder of the Star in Yoga platform (@starenyoga), tells us, It helps us to gain strength in the arms and wrists, to work the internal muscles of the abdomen and also to improve our proprioception and our body control.
Prepare our body
“The prior preparation of the body to perform this posture is very important. You can start by strengthening the wrists and arms with asanas such as phalakasana (the plank), here you can perform gentle swings, slightly shifting the weight towards the wrists and towards the heels”, the expert tells us, adding that another posture that can help us it is adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog) in which part of our weight is also on the arms and wrists. You can work on strengthening these areas of the body by raising one leg, for example, and holding the pose for several seconds.
“Practicing the crane pose requires a lot of focus and concentration. Therefore, it is advisable to be mentally prepared, so that the pose does not become too challenging. Bakasana also requires good physical shape and strong arms, shoulders, and abdomen,” she points out.
How to do it
- We start from a squatting position. It can help you to practice previously, doing the garland pose (malasana) since it is the starting point of bakasana.
- Next, place your hands flat on the floor with your weight evenly distributed between both hands and your knuckles, spreading the fingers of each hand wide apart to create a good base.
- All your weight thus rests on your hands and upper body. Lean the torso forward placing the weight of our body in the middle area.
- You can try to do several swings to see how well you distribute the weight of the body and also lose the fear of falling.
- Rest your knees on the upper half of your inner arms, very close to your armpits.
- Direct your gaze forward, not down.
- Lift your chin slightly, you will see that your balance improves, this is a key point when it comes to maintaining your posture to avoid falling. In case this happens, you can place a support on the ground (a cushion or similar) just in front of your face to minimize the impact of the fall and generate more confidence.
- Press your hands into the ground to be able to lift yourself up and straighten your arms fully or with a microflexion of the elbows, begin to lift one foot off the ground. When you’re pretty sure, pick up the other one.
- Stay in the position for as long as you can, you will see that with practice you will be able to increase the times. To come out of the pose, gently plant your feet on the floor.
Common mistakes when performing ‘bakasana’
- The main mistake in the crane posture is to look for the final image of the posture itself without carrying out the previous process. Sometimes we seek to reach an asana quickly and by an image that we have created in our minds.
- To enter the bakasana posture it is necessary to be aware of the balance that supports our own weight in addition to being patient, experimenting and accepting everything that arises in the process.
- Another mistake is not to lean slightly forward, towards the hands for fear of falling, it is about distributing the weight of the body well to be able to support yourself with the arms.
- It also often happens that we drop our heads down instead of looking straight ahead, which causes us to lose our balance.
- Another common mistake is to let the hands not be well supported on the ground, therefore, by not creating a base, the support will be worse. Something similar happens when we leave the feet ‘loose’ and the weight of the body too relaxed, it is more difficult to reach the position. Both areas (feet and body) must be active.
Are there variants of ‘bakasana’?
“Variations as such don’t really exist, but you can make changes to the posture,” he tells us. And he notes that if you find it difficult to lift your feet, you can try doing the pose with one foot resting on a yoga block, as you’ll gain height and feel more comfortable. “While balancing, lift the foot on the block first, then try lifting the other foot first. That way you’ll know what works best for you. You can also place another block on the ground to support the head and test how to get to the position ”, he points out.
Differences between ‘bakasana’ and ‘kakasana’
“There are people who talk about kakasana (the crow) as a less advanced variant of bakasana, when they are really different postures,” he explains. Bakasana (the crane) and kakasana (the crow) are arm balance poses, although they look quite similar, they are actually different. Kakasana requires a flexion of the elbows while bakasana is performed with the arms straight (or with a microflexion of the elbows) and the knees resting on the upper arms. Crow Pose is the easier variant of the two and is best mastered first before attempting Crane Pose.
Is it inadvisable in any case?
- If there is a diagnosis of anxiety disorder, since it can generate stress when carrying out it.
- Migraine sufferers should avoid this pose because in bakasana the head is suspended in the air. This can put a lot of pressure on the brain and can lead to severe migraine attacks.
- This pose should also not be performed by people who have weak wrists or suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Also, if you have a hip or shoulder injury, it is not a good idea to practice that pose.
- As the chances of falling are high, pregnant women should not perform bakasana.
- Also, if you usually have a very heavy period during the first days, you should avoid practicing this position, since it places a great load on the pelvic muscles.
Benefits of your practice
- Promotes awareness of the body and focuses on the mind-body connection.
- This pose activates the solar plexus and therefore the third chakra (Manipura)
- It also has a profound impact on a person’s emotional state of mind. It can help you overcome certain fears and develop courage when facing different situations.
- Strengthens especially the arms and wrists.
- It also helps us improve control of our body, being able to move our weight from one place to another.
- Abdominal activation is also important when maintaining balance in this posture.
- Promotes concentration.
- Activates the cerebellum responsible for muscle memory.
- Stimulates the stomach and intestines, consequently improving their digestion.
- This asana builds core strength and tones the abdominal girdle.
- It strengthens the muscles that support the spinal cord and improves the flexibility of the body.