How to do the Bakāsana Pose
Crow (or crane) pose, known as bakasana in Sanskrit, is a simple arm balance that builds strength in the shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands. The pose also improves balance and concentration, preparing the body and mind for more intense arm balances.
Tips, Photos and Videos for Beginners
Crow pose strengthens the muscles of the shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, and abdomen for toned arms and a toned belly. The pose also stretches the upper back and opens up the hips, improving flexibility and alleviating upper back pain and uncomfortably tight hips.
The pose improves balance and concentration, preparing the body for more difficult arm balances later on. It also beneficially compresses the abdominal organs.
Practitioners with carpal tunnel should not attempt crow pose, nor should those with high blood pressure, heart disease, or cerebral thrombosis.
Crow pose is an intense arm strengthener. Consider countering the pose by pushing back into child’s pose (balasana). Child’s pose stretches the arms and relaxes the entire body, countering the intensity of the pose.
Alternatively, jump from crow pose back into chaturanga and go through a sun salutation. This tricky little move requires arm strength (although not, maybe, as much as you’d think) and concentration.
Triceps brachii. The triceps brachii is a large muscle on the back of the upper arm responsible for straightening the arm. Push exercises, like planks and push-ups, build tricep bulk. The triceps are the primary mover in crow pose.
Abdominal muscles. The abdominals are located in the lower belly, between the ribs and the pelvis. They control the tilt of the pelvis and the curve of the lower spine. In crow pose, the transverse abdominus and rectus abdominus work to keep the hips lifted.
Pelvic floor. The pelvic floor muscles run between your legs, from the pubic bone to the base of the spine. They support the bladder, rectum, and (in women) the vagina and uterus. Keeping the hips lifted in crow pose also tones the pelvic floor.
Hip flexors. The hip flexors are a large group of muscles located deep in the thighs, hips, and buttocks. They connect the leg, pelvis, and abdomen and allow you to lift your upper leg towards your body or bend your body over your upper leg. Sitting in a chair for long periods of time weakens the hip flexors, making it difficult to lift the upper legs and bend over. Crow pose opens the hips and lengthens the hip flexor muscles.
Adductor muscles. The adductor muscles run along the inner thighs. These muscles are responsible for leg movement away from the center of the body as, for example, during a star jump or split. In crane pose, the knees press against the outside of the upper arms to work the adductor muscles.
Hamstrings. The hamstring muscles are the three long muscles that run along the back of the thigh. They extend the hip, flex the knee, and rotate the lower leg. In crow pose, the hamstrings engage to lift the shins and feet away from the floor.
Rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surrounds each shoulder joint. It is responsible for stabilizing the shoulder. Bending the elbow joints backwards in crow pose externally rotates the arm and, therefore, engages the rotator cuff muscles.
Deltoid muscles. The deltoid muscles form the rounded contour of the outer shoulders. They prevent dislocation of the arm during heavy lifting. Bending the elbow joints backward in crow pose externally rotates the arm and, therefore, engages the deltoid muscles.
Serratus anterior. The serratus anterior muscles are located on the sides of the chest, just below the armpits. They rotate the scapula and allow a person to lift the arms above the chest. In crow pose, they work to broaden the scapulas.
Pectoral muscles. The pectoralis major and minor connect the front walls of the chest with the upper arm and shoulders. These muscles are responsible for drawing the arms towards the body. They help support the weight of your body in crow pose.