Yoga has thousands of variations in its poses. The variations make sure that you have developed every single muscle in your body and not just the main groups. All the advanced practitioners spend their time with variations after having mastered the main poses. It may not be necessary to learn them all to call yourself a Yogi or Yogini. However, its important to remember that the shift of a degree or two in a balance pose, or extending a limb out in a certain pose, can make the pose either comfortable or extremely difficult.
The Crow Pose/ Crane Pose is one of those poses which feels easier than it looks, although it requires good arm strength. Follow this sequence to build your arms if you’re not quite ready for this pose. If you feel ready, you can skip right to the steps given below.
Start with Downward Dog. Hold for 5 breath cycles. (in and out)
Lift one leg and come down into One Leg Staff pose. Lift back up into Downward Dog and repeat for the other leg. Lift through your arms to go back to Downward Dog. Hold each leg up for 5 breaths.
Come into the Cobra pose. Hold for 5 breaths.
Go into a Side Plank for each arm. Hold for 5 breaths.
Finish with a Plank Pose for as long as you can. Maintain good form, if you’re tired and slumping, stop here. Good form is more important than time spent in the asana.
Make sure to take this slowly and not jump to any positions. Place a pillow under where your face is positioned for security if required while trying the Crow/Crane Pose. The biggest hurdle to overcome is usually reluctance to move enough of your weight forward into hands.
All the same steps apply to the both poses, the only difference is that the knees rest on the back of the arms in Crane pose while they rest on the outside of the arms in Crow pose. Crow pose allows you to squeeze your knees into your arms to maintain balance. Crane pose is harder since you balance the knees on the arms and have to engage the core to lift higher in order to do so. Crane requires more stability and body control than Crow.
- Begin this asana by coming into the Downward dog pose. Keep your feet shoulder width apart, and place your hands firmly on the floor. You must ensure that your hands are shoulder width apart. Use the Wrist Lock.
- Now lift your hips, walk your feet closer and make sure that your core muscles are engaged as your knees come closer to your upper triceps. If you are aiming to do the Kakasana, make a shelf with your upper arms as you bend your elbows.
- Look forward, shift your body weight on the arms, till your feet naturally want to lift up off the floor Hold this pose for a few seconds. Straighten your arms to come into the Kakasana.
- Your knees can be supported by the outside of your arms, this makes the Crow pose easier than the Crane pose.
- Hold the pose for up to a minute. Then, lower your feet and assume the Uttanasana.
- Arm strength is increased making the more advanced balancing yoga poses easier.
- Core strength is increased thus helping tone the abs.
- Builds spine strength and helps gain flexibility.
- Stretches and strengthens inner thighs.
- Strengthens the wrists.
- Strengthens abdominal muscles and therefore improves digestion.
- Builds physical strength and improves overall flexibility and balance.
- People suffering from hip injury should avoid this pose.
- Not to be done by someone having problems with migraine, as in Crow Pose the head is balanced in the air and it could lead to heaviness in the head.
- To be avoided by pregnant women because of possibility of falling and increased pressure in the abdominal area.
- Not to be done during the menstrual cycle if the bleeding is heavy as there is some stress on the pelvic muscles while holding the pose.
- Not to be done by someone who has weak wrists or inflammation in the wrists.
This is a lifting pose. Actively engage the core at all times to lift your body up rather than dumping weight on your shoulders.