Thursday, June 2, 2011

Finding Courage in Crow

June Pose of the Month: Bakasana
By Rebecca Merritt

Bakasana, also known as Crow or Crane pose, is at the root of many an arm balancing practice. Those who have played in crow know that it is challenging and fun, but you just can’t get anywhere without a little courage. This pose is about balance, strength and using your core. This month we encourage you to hit the mat, take a chance and fly with bakasana.

 Benefits of this pose include but are not limited to:
  • Strengthening arms and wrists
  • Stretching the upper back
  • Strengthening and toning abdominal muscles
  • Opening the groin
  • Improving balance
  • Helping build a strong foundation for future arm balances

How to:

1. Come to malasana or squat pose at the top of your mat. Bring your tip-toes to touch and your knees wider than your hips. Lean forward and plant your hands on the floor or mat.

2. Allow the backs of your arms to keep contact with your knees or shins, and bend the elbows. Squeeze up through your core and midline, come to the balls of your feet as you lift your hips and start to shift your weight forward. Allow your knees or shins to rest on the shelf you have created with your arms.

3. With an exhalation, lean forward even more onto the backs of your upper arms. Slowly lift one foot off the floor at a time, eventually bringing your toes to touch behind you.

4. Once steady, begin to find a fuller expression of the pose by straightening the arms - continue to squeeze the knees on either side and round the spine by engage the abdominals. Your gaze should be at the floor a few inches in front of you.

5. Stay in the pose as long as is comfortable. To release, slowly lower your feet to the floor, and return to squat pose.

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