The evil Bakasana

Crow pose (bakasana, also known as crane) has never been very accessible to me. The first time I had a teacher cue us into it, I honestly thought she was joking. You want me to what?

It’s a pose that makes me feel weak and awkward, so I generally avoid it. I was practicing it pretty regularly around Christmas time and had noticed some progress, then I toppled right on out of it and bruised my poor ego. I tend to shift my weight forward too much, so that my wrists give out and I fall on my face. Once I fell, I took a nice long break from the pose and have just started re-visiting it in the past month or so.

We have been attempting this pose in class lately. Well, I have been attempting it and my fellow yogis have been succeeding in it. Not that that’s hard on the perfectionist in me or anything. Anyway, my teacher has been immensely helpful for two reasons. 1) she keeps reminding us that it’s a lifting motion, not a leaning forward motion, which is something I need to focus on 2) she gave us the option of placing a folded-up blanket in front of our hands. That removed half of the fear from the situation. So what if I fall? Look at this comfty blanket that will cushion my head!

At home the other day, I decided to have a little courage and practice bakasana on my own. With no one around to judge me except for my dogs, I decided it was a good time to push my boundaries. There were no blankets within reaching distance, but I did have my meditation cushion.*

The cushion is much taller and firmer than a blanket. The first time I lifted to bakasana, I had to force myself to try. Turns out once your mind decides it’s scared of something, it’s really hard to talk it out of that. Sure enough, down came my head until it rested on the cushion, so I was in an elevated sort of tripod. From there, I tried to counterbalance myself, and actually managed to find the pose for just a moment.

I sat back into my squat and made a little sound of surprise. The lightbulb went off in my head. Maybe I can use this cushion like I use the wall in headstand. If I can begin to get a good feel of the pose with the aid of the cushion, maybe I can slowly move it farther and farther away until I don’t need it at all.

I’m a little worried that the cushion will become a debilitating crutch of sorts, but for now it’s allowing me to actually feel the pose the way it’s supposed to feel, and that makes me happy.

* I was very upset when I ordered my Yoga for Relaxation kit only to receive it and find that this cushion is inflatable. I didn’t read anything about that in the product description or reviews, and I looked on two different websites. But regardless, it has served me well for as often as I use it.

note: I changed my layout again. I know, I know I just did it a month ago. But I reserve the right to change my mind at any moment, and this one is awesome, so if you’re viewing this post in a reader, click through and check it out : )

Namaste,
Jamie

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13 responses to “The evil Bakasana

  1. I can’t do Bakasana. Well that’s not strictly true. Some days I can. Most days my hands hurt too much. But hey, that’s OK :)

  2. I have just one one word for you, or two words… let’s call it one hyphenated word: push-ups. Do some push-ups every day, or a few times a week, and bakasana will be easy. And don’t forget to stretch your wrists from time to time.

  3. WOW- LOVE your banner!!!!!

    also, crow scares me too. I’ve improved, but my problem is actually getting my knees around me armpits. most often they rest on my triceps. oh well.

    i found the best thing to help was the whole- ‘lift from your core’ using the mula bandhas, or one of those bandhas anyways. mentally, that helped a lot.

    i agree with Rachel though, really it’s ok not to be able to do crow. I see it as more of one of those ‘hey look what I can do’ postures…. ya know? it’s always the one I try when I’ve been drinking (lol).

  4. congratulations! that is a position that looks like something my body would never willingly do. even if i offered it a lot of delicious rewards after.

    and amazing new banner!

  5. i wrote about crow, too, and how it drove me crazy, as a guest post on tread earth lightly:

    http://treadearthlightly2.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/nailing-the-crow-coming-into-a-pose-and-staying-with-it/

    stay with it!!

  6. I really like this new layout! Much more personal.

    I actually gave Bakasana another try again today- it’s a goal of mine but for some reason I haven’t been practicing it at home lately (and it’s never part of the Moksha sequence).

    So far, I can get my feet a few inches off the ground for about a second haha! Good luck with your practice :)

  7. Love the new look! Very spring.

    I did exactly the same when I was learning bakasana – I used the edge of a low sofa to press my forehead into so I could learn the “lift” instead of “fall flat on face” motion. Another thing a teacher got me to try was to start with my feet elevated on two yoga blocks lying flat. That way my feet were already a bit higher so I could get more of the forward motion and less of the “downward flat on face” motion.

    It took me ages but eventually I got it! And yes, those extra chaturangas and navasanas probably didn’t do much harm either.

    I think it’s great to have goals and work towards poses. Just remember though to be satisfied with the work you put in, and not cling too hard to the results. :)

  8. Oh, bakasana. I have carpal tunnel, and whatever I’m doing in this pose must not be right, because my wrists act up like crazy afterward. I’ll have to try the advice everyone has provided here and revisit the pose. Also, I recently heard another cue that helped me – a teacher told us to squeeze our knees together. I think that helps engage through the core.

    All of that said, I’m not that tied to this pose and whether or not I can do it. I think I’ve accepted that this one might just be out of reach.

    I, too, love your banner! Beautiful!

  9. Crow… I remember the first time I lifted and actually stayed up there…

    It’s frustrating no to be able to do a pose, but we have to remember that it’s ok, too. It might come one day when you least expect it, or it might not come at all, who knows?
    But I think the best part of learning a pose is when the lightbulb goes off and you feel the pose instead of struggling to get into it :-)
    Yoga I love thee!

  10. Love the new look. I think it is super fun to play with your cyberspace. Good luck with bakasana! Talk about fun to play!

  11. Hey girl,
    Love the new look. Since I get your blog posts via email, I have been keeping up ~ just not commenting. I’m back, though, and mentioned you in my post today as I saw your cute message about day-tripping to Ohio to find me. Thank you for your thoughtfulness! Hope you are well!
    Smiles,
    Heather

  12. @everyone THANKS! : )

  13. Bakasana is not always the easiest pose for me either. Thanks for mentioning your struggle with it! I found that Leeann Carey has a great free yoga video that breaks down the pose. Your readers might want to check it out: http://planetyoga.com/yoga-blogs/index.php/free-yoga-video-breakdown-of-bakasana-crane-pose/

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