Poses to Prepare for Side Crow Pose

4 min read

Any arm balance pose can be intimidating at first, and the Parsva Bakasana or Side Crow pose is no exception. This pose enhances arm strength, tones your belly, and offers you a sense of balance and confidence.

It takes a lot of practice to achieve this pose. If you are learning the pose, breaking it down into small steps and focusing on specific areas of your body will help. After a lot of practice, you’ll be able to take off in Side Crow without any turbulence by focusing on these stepping stones.

Boat Pose/ Navasana

This pose can be a bit disheartening for me, as it makes my body tremble and shake. The poses that you find most difficult are often the ones you should be practicing.

In this pose, you will strengthen and focus on your core. You will have no choice but to work your abdominals in order to prepare for flight. Hold for as long as possible while maintaining correct alignment and breathing. Focus on pelvic neutrality with respect to the heart and spine center.

To straighten your legs, spread the toes and press from the ball of your foot. You can also add a fun twist to the exercise: While in the Boat, clasp your hands together and rotate them to the left and right. This will get you ready for the side!

Plank / Phalakasana

Plank poses are a great way to transition into more difficult poses.

In this pose, we focus again on the core but also engage and strengthen the arms and legs, which are needed for Side Crow.

In plank, lengthen your body from the crown of the head to your heels. Draw your shoulder blades down and back while opening up at the collarbone. Grounding is achieved by focusing on the hands and feet, with fingers and toes spread. Keep your hips lifted to create a straight energy line from the crown to the toes.

You can take this pose a step further by lifting one leg while spreading your toes and then holding it while transitioning from Chaturanga.

Pigeon / Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

This stretch will warm you up and open your hips to help with the side crow.

You should align your hips with the front edge of your mat in this pose. With each inhale, you should be able to feel your hips open and release tension. Make sure your back leg runs in a straight line from your ankle to your foot. Take deep breaths, lengthen your spine, and find the edge of the pose.

You can take this further by bringing your hands together in prayer and then twisting so that one elbow points toward the sky and the other toward the ground.

Revolved Chair / Parivrtta Utkatasana

This simple pose does more than prepare the body for a twist. It helps us to understand the importance of balance and grounding.

Begin in Mountain pose, and concentrate on the roots of your feet. When you are ready, bend your knees and go into Chair Pose. Draw your belly in and bring your shoulders back while you get your legs as parallel to the floor as possible.

Make sure that your torso leans over your legs and your back is straight. Tuck your tailbone toward the floor. You can now move on to the Revolved chair by rotating the torso and bringing your hands up in prayer. Focus on your balance and your breathing. Keep your hips squared.

Half Lord of the Fishes / Ardha Matsyendrasana

This pose is good for stretching the neck, shoulders, and hips. As you inhale, lengthen your sides and twist, then ground yourself deeper into this pose. Pay attention to the space in between your ribs and visualize creating more space as you extend.

Crow / Bakasana

 Gaining confidence in Crow is essential for many arm balances that you will practice.

Start in a low-squat position with your palms flat on the mat and your fingers spread. You can use your bent arms to support your knees. Slowly leaning forward, place your knees on the arms as high as possible. Squeeze the knees in the arms.

Leaning forward will help you maintain your balance while lifting your hips and activating your core. You should also keep your drishti point (gaze) about six inches in front of you to avoid falling over. Lift one foot and then the next, with the goal of bringing both feet together and straightening your arms.

You can gain confidence and strength by attempting these poses. These are some of the more challenging poses that can take a while to master. So relax and trust in the process.

You will learn the most about yourself when you can breathe through fear and turbulence. Yogis, plant those palms to fly high!

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