What’s the crow pose?

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Crow Pose is an arm-balancing yoga position that strengthens the core and triceps while increasing hip flexibility. Beginners can start by lifting one foot off the ground and progress to lifting both feet for a more advanced variation. Advanced practitioners can try placing their knees higher up on the triceps and holding their hips well above their shoulders.

Crow Pose, also known as bakasana or crane pose, is an arm-balancing position in yoga. Done correctly, it can help strengthen your core and triceps, and increase hip flexibility. Crow Pose may seem difficult at first, but with a little practice it can be achieved even for yoga beginners.

To move into crow pose, it’s easiest to start in a deep squat, with your feet a few inches apart. Placing the hands on the floor in front of the body, bend the arms and widen the thighs, so that the inner thighs are pressed against the upper arms or rest on the triceps. From this position, slowly shift your weight forward, shifting your weight from your feet to your upper arms. As the body leans forward, the head should be raised; crow pose does not put any weight on the head.

From this point, the crow pose can be modified to suit the practitioner’s abilities. Beginners can practice lifting one foot off the floor, letting the weight of the leg rest on the arm. The feet can be moved, allowing the beginner to test the sensation of balance on each side. By moving the feet faster, a beginner can work on being able to lift both feet off the ground. The one foot method is sometimes known as the “baby crow” pose.

For a more advanced version, as the body leans forward, both feet come off the floor. This is the traditional variation of Crow Pose, which relies on arm and core strength and flexibility. By balancing the arms, the focus becomes careful, measured breathing as the practitioner holds the pose. It is not uncommon to fall several times while establishing Crow Pose, but once properly balanced, it can be maintained for quite some time.

More advanced practitioners can progress to more difficult variations of Crow Pose once the traditional form is mastered. For an advanced crow, the knees are placed high up on the triceps to start, rather than near the elbows as in the baby or traditional crow. The hips are also held well above the shoulders, instead of just slightly above them, as in the simpler version. After lifting the feet off the ground, the arms are slowly straightened so that the knees balance near the armpits. This variation requires considerable practice and arm strength to manage, and advanced crow pose is not recommended by some yoga experts for people with neck injuries, pregnant women, or new practitioners.

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