Bakasana, also known as the Crane Pose, is a yoga stretch technique that is both challenging and rewarding.
Bakasana mastery takes tremendous skill and strength, so it is highly regarded by contemporary yogis. Similar to Kakasana (Crow Pose), Bakasana focuses on the arm balance of the practitioner. With adequate preparation, you can master the Crane Pose!
As always, it is highly recommended that you attempt the Crane Pose in the presence of a professional instructor to make sure that your form is correct to prevent injury.
If you are a beginner to yoga, this article will inform you of the poses that you will be able to embark on in future sessions with more practice.
For eligible students of yoga, we aim to provide you with the necessary background knowledge for attempting this pose. This includes:
- A historical background of the sanctity of the Crane Pose
- The art of performing Bakasana
- Modifications to begin with
- The benefits of performing this pose.
Historical Background and Sanskrit Origin
The origin of the word “Bakasana” is derived from Sanskrit, and it can be translated by splitting the word into two parts: ‘baka’ meaning ‘crane’ and ‘asana’ meaning ‘posture’.
The combination of this translation underlies its alternate English name, Crane Pose.
Bakasana and other balancing poses originated around the 17th century when Shiva (the Hindu deity) revealed it as one of the 84 yoga poses.
The Baka in Hinduism originates from the epic called Mahabharata, where Baka is used as a disguise for a forest-dwelling ogre.
The Art of Performing Bakasana
Here are the step-by-step guidelines for how to perform the Crane Pose, with considerations for focus points and relaxation techniques.
Bakasana is challenging, but it can be considered a more approachable arm balance pose, as the hips are not stretched as intensely.
There are several preparatory poses that can be performed to ensure that the body is ready for more advanced poses like Bakasana.
The first pose worth discussing is the Plank Pose or Phalakasana. Phalakasana requires you to lay flat on your stomach, and then press up with your hands and feet while keeping your entire body as straight as possible.
Another great pose to begin with is the Dolphin Pose or Ardha Pincha Mayurasana.
This pose counters the plan pose, as all of the initial movements are the same, but you will want to bring your lower back up toward the sky.
Step-by-Step Guide to Bakasana
Now that you have performed some of the warm-up poses, it may be time for you to try Bakasana. The main element of a strong Bakasana is core strength, which is highlighted by the prior two poses.
Begin in a squat position, either with your feet firmly planted on the ground or raised.
Then, lean forward from your upper body, and place your hands directly below your shoulders.
Next, relax your elbow slightly and use your shins as leverage by placing your arms against them.
Finally, lean (don’t jump) slightly forward onto your arms and relax into lifting your feet off the ground.
Common Mistakes and Corrections
In Bakasana, there is a tendency to force yourself forward onto your arms or to jump off the ground. In contrast, it is better to feel your body lift off the ground by bringing your weight forward gently.
So, a correction to this common mistake is to practice patience; it may require inching forward until your toes finally lift off of the floor!
Physical and Mental Benefits of Bakasana
Regular practice of Bakasana can provide numerous physical and mental benefits that will not only aid your journey in yoga but might make life more enjoyable!
Bakasana recruits several muscle groups, which builds whole-body strength.
However, as alluded to earlier, strong abdominal muscles are required to perform Bakasana, so this muscle group is the most targeted in this pose.
Balance and Focus
Engaging the muscles required for Bakasana prior to actually settling into the pose requires immense focus.
Additionally, staying in Bakasana can be attributed to balance, which can be worked on in other poses if balancing in Bakasana creates a barrier for you.
Stress Reduction and Emotional Balance
Stress reduction is common in yoga, but the more challenging poses serve as an active meditation that can calm the mind.
Also, accomplishing Bakasana is a major confidence builder that can translate to a more self-assured outlook on life!
Variations and Modifications of Bakasana
As said previously, Bakasana is a very advanced pose in yoga that involves many pose steps before it should be attempted.
Therefore, if you are new to yoga or are interested in working on your Bakasana foundation, some of these variations of the pose may assist you in your journey.
However, while Bakasana is challenging, it can be made more advanced for seasoned yoga professionals. As such, some advanced variations of the pose will be included in this section as well.
To practice going through the motions of Bakasana, try Malasana (Garland Pose) on a chair. Sit firmly on a chair with your feet planted on the floor.
Then, reach between your legs and hold onto the chair legs. This configuration should resemble Bakasana!
For a greater challenge, the first thing you can do is increase the duration of your Bakasana.
If you feel comfortable doing this, then move on to Bakasana push-ups where you slowly lower yourself onto the ground with your arms, and back up again. It’s quite an intense workout!
Use of Props and Adjustments
In addition to the beginner pose with the chair suggested earlier, yoga blocks and straps can be incorporated into Bakasana (or adjacent stretches) for added benefits or to move closer to achieving the pose.
Is Bakasana suitable for yoga beginners?
While the true Bakasana pose is not suitable for beginners, modifications can help beginners build up to the full pose.
How can I improve my balance in Bakasana?
Breathwork is so important in yoga. If you are able, count and monitor your breath – making sure that they are even and intentional.
Are there any precautions to consider while practicing Bakasana?
Ensuring that you are properly warmed up and prepared to engage with the pose is an important precaution to take.
Also, if you have been injured recently or are undergoing physical therapy, you may want to consult with a physician before attempting Bakasana.
How long should I hold the Crane Pose?
There is no defined limit, but building up to ten seconds can be a milestone or goal that you set for yourself. Even if you can only do one or two seconds in the beginning, you will be able to hold it for longer with practice.
Can practicing Bakasana help with stress relief?
Absolutely! Bakasana can improve your circulation, which is excellent for brain health. It also allows you an opportunity to decompress and focus for a few seconds at an intense level, providing excellent stress relief!