This asana has always (and some days still is) a huge challenge for me. I simply can't get my balance right or get over the fear of falling flat on my face- even though I have and I was fine. Given I haven't actually got that far to fall, its something I'm working on to over come. So I practice this asana, daily, sometimes I fall out, sometime I nail it...but the point is that I'm practicing A LOT. Here are a few of my top tips to success in this posture. Give it a go...
1. The foundation is key.
As with many yoga asanas, the hands are essentially the foundation of crow pose. If you have them too far apart or too close together, you’re building upon something that’s potentially quite unstable and you won't be able to hold the posture or you might fall out.
Hands should be shoulder distance apart, with the weight distributed evenly across the whole palm. Use the finger pads to almost grip into the ground, like little suction cups.
By setting up a decent foundation, you can start to build a more stable pose from the base up.
2. Get the knees high up on the arms.
You want to get the body nice and low so you can glue your knees as high up your upper arms as possible. If you’re tight in the hips, you might find it challenging to get down low enough for the knee or upper arm connection. If this is you, try using a block under your feet. The extra height the block gives can help the knees reach higher up the arms.
3. Draw in first, then lift.
This is an important cue and one that can potentially make or break your bakasana.
The knees are pressing in to the upper arms. The inner thighs are drawing in towards each other. The elbows are drawing in. The abdominals are drawing in and lifting you. Everything is in.
This simple action of drawing in and activating the muscles means the focus is less on just the arms and wrists and the pose becomes a whole body effort giving you that lift off you need and hopefully the balance.
4. Shift the weight forward and look forward.
If the mind is fearful of falling- like mine is, it will do whatever it can to hold you back. So what works for me is if I set the intention with my eyes, taking your gaze out in front of your hands rather then looking down.
If you are still fearful of falling, placing a cushion under you might be helpful. Soft landing.
5. Rounded upper back.
The upper back should be rounded, which then activates important muscles (abdominals) that help with balance and hold. The sensation is that you are lifting and pushing the mat away from you as you draw everything in. This point can be the difference between you flying for a few seconds, and holding the pose for longer.
I then play with lifting one leg off the mat at a time until I feel my balance and the muscles engage and I can hold with both legs up. Breathing is key, finding steadiness in the postures will help you hold for longer- holding our breath is never a good thing and honestly doesn't work.
There you go guys. Have fun, play and most importantly practice this very fun and strengthening asana.