So you're ready to dive into the world of arm balances but not quite sure how to begin? Crow pose is a wonderful introduction to arm balancing as you've probably already encountered some of the ideal preparatory poses for crow within your standard yoga practice. Below, I'm going to share some poses to work on if you are total newbie. Ready to fly?
1. Start off with a gentle hip opener such as child's pose. Take your knees out as wide as you'd like, big toes together, and stretch your arms in front, resting your forehead on the mat. Breathe, and bring your attention inwards, becoming fully present in your body.
2. Come on to all fours and stretch out your wrists. Some nice wrist stretches include palms on the ground with fingers pointing towards your knees. Gently take the hips back towards your heels. You can also flip one palm over, and then the other, to get a different stretch.
3. Move through a few cat / cows to warm up your spine. Rounding the back will be especially important in crow pose so focus on drawing your bellybutton in towards your spine and expanding through your shoulder blades to round the back.
4. Come into extended table top by stretching one leg behind and the opposite arm forward. Then take your elbow and knee towards each other as you round the back. Alternate with extending the arm and leg again, and then switch sides after a few rounds. Inhale when you extend, exhale when you crunch in. This will warm up your core which will be essential for finding your balance in crow.
5. Move through a few sun salutations to warm up, with special attention to your chaturanga. Practice drawing your elbows in close to your rib cage in your chaturanga by spinning your outer upper arms in to your center. Firm up your core and squeeze everything in to your midline. In crow pose we are going to want to think chaturanga arms.
6. From three legged dog, practice drawing your knee towards your nose as you round your back. Inhale as you extend, exhale as you crunch in. This will build core strength to help with your balance and further open up your back so you can get your knees higher up your arm in your crow. Repeat several times on both sides.
7. Practice taking your knee to your elbow or tricep. Get it as high up as you can. Alternate with extending your leg back for three legged dog. Press your hands down firmly and squeeze your navel in to round your back. Getting your knee up high on to your tricep will be crucial in crow pose.
8. Open your hips deeper in happy baby pose. Lying on your back, take your knees and feet out wide, catching your feet or shins. If your tail bone is lifting off the mat, lower your hands down closer towards your knees. Press your knees down towards your arm pits.
10. Start playing in crow pose by perching on top of a block with your feet together and your hips on your heels. Bring your hands down to the floor in front of you, shoulder width apart. Begin to lift your hips up towards the ceiling and hike your knees up into your arm pits. If that doesn't feel accessible to you, start by getting your knees above your elbows and then gradually up your triceps. Practice tipping forward to bring some weight into your hands by rolling through the ball of your feet.
10. Start playing in crow pose by perching on top of a block with your feet together and your hips on your heels. Bring your hands down to the floor in front of you, shoulder width apart. Begin to lift your hips up towards the ceiling and hike your knees up into your arm pits. If that doesn't feel accessible to you, start by getting your knees above your elbows and then gradually up your triceps. Practice tipping forward to bring some weight into your hands by rolling through the balls of your feet.
11. Practice putting more weight into your hands, bending your elbows and squeezing in to your midline, like in chaturanga. Place a block under your head, starting at the highest height to tackle the common fear of falling forward. A pillow or blanket can also help to face the fear of falling.
12. Continue to use your blocks to support you if you need to, or if you feel ready, remove them. Practice lifting one foot off the ground, and then the other. Keep hugging every thing in towards your center.
13. If you're ready, start picking up both feet off the ground, even just an inch or two. Squeeze everything in towards your midline to lift feet higher. Now Rinse and repeat, and don't forget to breathe!
Keep in mind that crow pose takes consistent practice to master so don't feel bad if it doesn't come right away. Work on the poses above to work your way up towards crow and I'm certain that with time and dedicated practice you'll be flying in your crow!
Watch the video below to practice crow with me:
If you'd like to practice more yoga together, I'd love to share one of my most popular classes from my online studio membership with you. In my membership I offer vinyasa and yin style classes, designed as monthly journeys to take you deeper in to exploring specific topics. You can follow along with the journey or pick and choose your favorite classes to create a practice suited to your needs. Click below to get your free trial class.