Okay, don’t hate me when I say that I’ve always had a relatively easy time with crow pose, aka bakasana. I know a lot of people have a fear of it, mostly in the form of falling on your face. I remember a friend told me that her mom nearly broke her nose falling forward while attempting bakasana. Ouch!
Once I figured out a few tricks, it really became a matter of arm strength and shifting body weight. Here are 6 tips to hopefully ease your fear of crow pose.
1. Spread those fingers wide. If you ever look at the hands of a b-boy (breakdancer) when they go into any of their crazy inversion tricks, they spread their fingers super wide to create a bigger, more stable base for balance. Really reach from thumb to pinky. You want all the surface area you can create.
2. Grip with your fingers. Your fingers are going to do a lot of work to keep you from falling, so as you spread them wide, grip into your mat to adjust any wobbles.
3. Get your knees as close up to your pits as you can. When you’re in that frog squat, keep tip toe-ing your feet toward your hands as you tuck those knees up towards your armpits. This creates a nice compact body and gives your knees a proper place to “grip”.
4. Focus your drishti about a foot in front of your hands. Keep your eyes there and locked. It’s for both balance and weight transfer. (Didn’t the kid from Jerry Maguire say the human head weighs 8 pounds?)
5. Create a micro-shelf with your arms. With your knees tucked in your pits, the little bend at your elbows makes a shelf to press against. Now, you’re not resting and relaxing into the shelf; your knees press in while your arm muscles press up (like a mini push-up). It gives you a little friction to work with so your legs don’t slip.
6. Slowly shift your weight forward. This is the trickiest part, right? This movement also requires your hands to engage – use those fingers for balance – and your core to suck in to keep your body compact and pulled up. Keep focusing on your drishti and broaden your chest. Don’t collapse. Lift, lift, lift!
In the instance that you start to lean too far forward, press into your hands to straighten your arms. That’ll help you fall back onto your feet rather than forward.
Just like while learning headstand, getting the shift in weight for bakasana is a delicate balance that takes practice and trust in your own strength. And also like with headstand, sometimes it takes a lot of falling out of the balance before it starts to feel natural and stable.