Bakasana is derived from the Sanskrit word Baka meaning Crane and Asana meaning pose. In English, Bakasana is known as the Crane Pose. It is called so as the body posture when done correctly resembles a crane. Traditionally in many Asian cultures, birds like crow and crane were believed to be God's messengers. They are thought to have the ability to transcend beyond the finite world and live between the finite and infinite. They are considered the bridge between the earth and the heavens. The crane is also thought to be a symbol of youthfulness and happiness and Bakasana or the crane pose is an embodiment of all these. When an individual is able to do this pose, a sense of lightness and joy is achieved.
What is Bakasana?
Bakasana yoga is an arm balancing pose and is part of Hatha Yoga and modern yoga where the hands are on the floor, feet are lifted and the chins are rested on the arms. The Bakasana pose is usually done by intermediate to advanced learners of yoga and is ideally taught after the practitioner becomes proficient in Crow pose or Kakasana. The pose targets the abs, arms, wrists, and upper back. To start Bakasana one can be in the crow asana or can transition from a headstand which is an advanced position.
What is the Difference between Bakasana, Crane Pose, and Kakasana, Crow Pose Asana?
Many people do not know the difference between crow pose and crane pose and call Bakasana the Crow Pose. Though they are similar, they are yet different.
- Coming to the similarities, both the poses are arm balances where the palms are on the ground. The hands are pressed onto the floor and the knees are towards the body and feet lifted off the ground. Crow pose yoga for beginners is recommended.
- Coming to the differences, in Kakasana, the arms are bent and the elbows are over 90 degrees. It is an easier version and is ideal to first get a hang of it and then attempt the Crane Pose yoga. The Crane pose has the arms straight and is a more difficult variation of the Kakasana.
If you are struggling with both then there is an easier way out called the Duck pose or Karandavasana or the Baby Crow Pose Yoga. This pose is easier as the body is closer to the ground and you have the support of the hands and the palms to balance.
How to do Bakasana (Crow Pose)?
The Bakasana or the crane pose is similar to the Crow Pose but with a small difference as explained above. Read below for step-by-step instructions of doing this asana.
- Start with the Malasana or squatting pose by sitting on the centre of the mat. Keep the feet at hip distance, feet flat on the floor.
- Place the elbows to the inner side of both knees.
- Inhale, keep the spine straight, feel the stretch in the inner thigs and push the elbows outward.
- Join both palms as you do in a Namaste and take a few breaths and stay in this position.
- Now place the palms on the floor just in front of your feet with the elbows out.
- Press the palms on the floor and try to raise your body and get into Uttansana, push the chest towards the knees, or for easy option the thighs.
- Push the arms down and elongate your lower back upwards. If you are doing it right, you will feel the stretch in the upper body namely the shoulders, chest, and hips.
- Now take the knees towards the armpits and rest the shin at the elbows.
- Remain in this pose and stand on your toes, balance the body and feel the whole weight of your body on your arms.
- Bend the trunk forward, pull the abdomen inside, exert weight on the arms and wrists and lift the feet off the floor. If needed keep the elbows slightly bent so that you gain balance.
- Use the core strength to lift the body while slowly straightening the arms.
- Now the body is in Crane pose, stretch the legs completely if you are flexible.
- The position of the neck should be parallel to the ground and start focusing on breathing.
- The shoulders, palms, hips, knees, and feet should be aligned to get optimal benefits.
- Stay for a minimum of two breaths and increase it up to 6. Focus on soft breathing as that helps to hold the pose for longer.
- Exhale and go back to Malasana.
- Repeat the steps to go back to Bakasana.
Benefits of Bakasana
There are many physical and mental health benefits of Bakasana Yoga. Physical benefits of Bakasana pose are:
- Helps strengthen the wrists: The main focus on the Bakasana yoga pose is the wrists. It strengthens the arms and wrists, thereby reducing the risk of injury to it. It also aids in healing carpal tunnel syndrome which is common among people who use their wrists for work. Doing this pose increases the efficiency of the wrists and arms.
- Increases coordination: As the human body ages, it tends to lose balance and coordination. Bakasana yoga pose brings about balance, concentration, and coordination and improves the quality of life. It brings equilibrium and equanimity and makes us feel happy and calm.
- Improves spine flexibility: Sitting in a bad posture and the wrong lifestyle takes a toll on the spine and causes back issues. Bakasana increases the elasticity and flexibility of the spine and makes it more adaptable. That puts less pressure on the ligaments and joints aiding the overall health of the body.
- Opens up the groin: In the crane pose, the inner thighs get a good stretch and that helps open the groin muscles. That prevents injury to the knees and the hip adduction. The Bakasana works on the abs and the thighs and hence tones the stomach aiding weight loss. So it can be part of weight loss yoga.
- Full body workout: This Yogasan is a great full-body workout just like the Surya Namaskar steps. It tones the arms, core muscles, strengthens the wrists, back, and legs.
Mental Health Benefits
The crane pose yoga focuses on lifting and balancing. It helps in the mind-body connection and also enables greater focus and awareness of the body.
- Prepares the mind for meditation and encourages introspection and mindfulness.
- Relieves depression
- Stimulates the chakras like the Solar Plexus, crown, and throat.
- Improves the confidence of the mind and the body.
Common Mistakes to avoid in Balasana
There are a few mistakes done by Bakasana for beginners and they are:
- The elbows should be in line with the shoulders and wrists and should not be splayed. There is a risk of applying too much weight on the wrists and can lead to injury.
- Do not keep your fingers too close instead, spread them so that you can grip them on the ground.
- Do not rely only on your hips use the core muscles.
- Do not rest your legs on the arm, place your knees as high as possible.
- Do not delay the transfer of weight onto the hands otherwise, the body won't move up.
Who should avoid Balasana?
People with the following complications should avoid practising Balasana
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Sciatica Pain
- Slip disc
- Wrist injury
- Shoulder injury and hamstring injury
If you are a beginner to yoga, it is best to start with the crow pose for beginners and after mastering it move to the advanced poses. Since this is an advanced yoga pose and wrong posture can be more harmful to the body and so should be done under the supervision of a yoga teacher.
Some Follow-up poses:
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