Arm balances have always been the bane of my yoga life. I couldn’t get into crow pose (pictured above) or do chaturanga, which is like a yoga push-up. I thought I didn’t have the arm strength. It was only until recently did I realise that I did indeed have the strength to do these things. It was a matter of technique – I was taught by Alicia how to shift my weight forward to get the balancing sweet spot.
On the other hand, my friend Barbara has always been very good at arm balances. Here is her crow pose. The difference between hers and Tara Stiles above is that her calves are not lifted as high.
Here’s my crow pose. I managed to get into it after practising for a few weeks using Alicia’s method of shifting my weight forward. The reason why I couldn’t balance before because I didn’t dare lean forward. Also, you’re not supposed to collapse all your weight on your arms. You have to suck your tummy in and round your back so that you’re using your core to lift yourself up.
To sum up, the tricks to the crow pose are:
- Play with the distribution of weight by shifting your weight backward and forward. The pivot point is the wrist.
- Do not allow your stomach to collapse on your arms. Think about sucking it in and rounding your back.
- The fingers should be spread apart.
- Gaze ahead and not downward at your hands.
- Practise by stepping your feet on a yoga block or anything raised.
Variations to the crow pose include the baby crow, demonstrated by Barbara. It’s called the baby crow pose but it’s not as easy as it looks! It requires more core strength than normal crow.
The side crow is said to be easier than the front crow. The trick is to tuck your elbows deep into your stomach. Do not allow the elbows to splay out.
This is a variation of the crow pose, in a way. It’s called the grasshopper pose or revolved flying pigeon.
Once the crow pose is mastered, the next step is to attempt to straighten the arms into the crane pose. If you notice, all the photos above show bent arms. This is what the crane pose looks like. Note that the arms are straight. This is not easy!
Source: Kathryn Budig