The crow pose is a yoga pose used for strengthening the core and arms, while also improving balance and concentration. It’s not an easy pose for yogis to complete, and even some advanced yogis will struggle to maintain the crow pose for extended periods.
Once you have nailed the crow pose, however, it doesn’t just stop there. There are several variations to advance your yoga skills, so if you think you’ve finished reaching your potential with the crow pose, think again.
Yoga is all about pushing yourself to master the next pose, after all!
So, if you have successfully mastered the crow pose, it’s time to explore some variations to improve your skills. Here are 4 crow pose variations to advance your yoga practice, as well as tips on how to make each pose perfect.
What Is The Crow Pose?
Firstly, let’s take a look at what the crow pose actually is.
The crow pose is a notorious arm balancing pose that builds the core muscles, strengthens the arms, and improves balance. The pose consists of holding your entire body weight onto your arms, leaning over so it looks like a crow standing.
Crow Pose vs Crane Pose
While they look similar, there is one key difference between the crow pose and the crane pose.
The crow pose allows the user to bend their elbows and rest their upper thighs on the backs of their arms to help with balance. The crane pose, on the other hand, requires the individual to straighten their arms completely.
As a result, the crane pose is much harder than the crow pose, and must only be attempted when you have mastered the crow pose.
This is why both poses have different names in Sanskrit! The crow pose is called Kakasana, while the crane pose is called Bakasana.
Also, the reason why the crane pose is named after a crane is because the act of straightening the arms makes the individual taller than if they were in a crow position. As cranes are taller than crows, it feels like an apt description.
Crow Pose Variations
Let’s take a look at the variations of crow pose that you can now attempt. It’s important to note that these poses should only be attempted if you have mastered the crow pose.
The one-legged crow pose isn’t too different from a regular crow pose. The only difference is that you have to extend one leg behind you, while the other remains in the crow position.
This is only achievable with strength in the core, legs, and chest. You must also have excellent balance, as your center of gravity will be shifted.
Here’s how to do the one-legged crow:
- Begin in crow pose. Make sure your knees are high in your triceps by lifting your tailbone.
- Engage your core by squeezing your knees together and drawing your bottom ribs inwards.
- Hover one knee out from its position, squeezing the hamstring and glute muscles.
- Strengthen your arms by squeezing your elbows in together.
- Lift your leg back into a long and elevated position for as long as you can.
The crow jumpback, also known as the crow into high-to-low plank, is a fun position that isn’t too difficult to complete once you have mastered the crow position.
It’s less about the power of kicking your legs back into the low plank, and more about pushing your chest forward. It’s all about understanding your center of gravity!
- Begin in crow pose.
- Prepare your core muscles.
- Tighten your inner thighs by hugging them together.
- Kick your feet back with full commitment, while pushing your chest forward, to get into the low plank. You’ll need to bend your elbows to resist putting pressure on your joints.
Crow To Headstand
If you have mastered the crow pose and headstand, you can put the two together. The key is having trust in your abilities and to be patient with yourself. This pose is all about balance!
- Begin in crow pose, and start to look at your toes.
- Your head will slowly touch the ground. Use your core and arms to keep yourself from putting all your weight on your head. It helps to chuck your chin in slightly so you’re balancing on the flat crown of your head.
- Squeeze your inner thighs and activate your core.
- Go into the headstand.
Headstand To Crow
The headstand to crow transition is the exact same as the previous variation, just backwards! Here is how to do it the other way around:
- From the headstand, lower your knees to your chest. Bring each knee back into a tricep.
- Roll your head back slightly, so your hairline is touching the floor.
- Squeeze your elbows and use your shoulder strength to lift your head off the floor.
- Don’t look at your toes. Instead, keep your gaze directly forward.
Who Can Do The Crow Pose And Variations?
Technically speaking, anybody can do the crow pose and its variations. It’s not an easy pose to master by any means, but for most people, it’s fairly accessible.
To see if you are able to attempt the crow pose, here’s a checklist of movements that will test your flexibility, balance, and strength. If you struggle with these, make sure to target whatever you are struggling with before you attempt the crow pose to prevent injury.
Hold A Plank Pose – Core Strength
Holding a plank isn’t easy if you don’t have good core strength. You will need to hold this plant for 30 seconds, ideally without your arms shaking, to test if you have the upper body and core strength to attempt the crow pose.
Tabletop Stretch – Wrist Flexibility
You need to have flexible wrists to hold your body weight without straining or tension. To test this, start in a tabletop position with your hands directly under your shoulders.
Lean forward slightly, and see if you can keep your palms completely flat. If they remain grounded, you have good wrist flexibility.
Chaturanga Push-Ups – Shoulder Strength
Chaturanga push-ups are a good exercise for anyone needing to strengthen their shoulders. While you won’t need to straighten your arms in a crow pose, these push-ups will test whether you have the shoulder strength required to attempt the pose.
Knee To Triceps – Hip Flexibility
Lastly, you need to know if you have enough hip flexibility to perform the crow pose. This can be checked by lying on your back and pulling one knee at a time into your chest.
You’ll know if you have enough hip flexibility if you can touch your knee to your elbow without pain or tension.
How To Fix Crow Pose Misalignments
If you’re struggling to master the crow pose, there’s a chance you’re doing a number of things wrong. Here is how to fix these misalignments.
Spread Your Fingers
To improve your balancing, you need to spread your fingers as wide as possible. This will help to ground the knuckles into the floor, and then evenly distribute the weight across the fingers and palms.
You will also need to rely on your hands rather than put all of your body weight on your wrists, which can cause injury.
Bend Your Elbows
As we mentioned earlier, the difference between the crow pose and the crane pose is that the crane pose requires straight arms. If you’re struggling to hold yourself up, it might be because you haven’t bent your elbows enough.
Don’t be afraid to go into a deep bend – this is what makes the pose easier to accomplish!
Place Your Knees On Your Arms
Resist the temptation to place your knees on the outsides of your arms. While this might feel more comfortable, this is actually a different pose all together, known as the flying frog. Instead, rest your knees on the backs of your upper arms. This will help your balance.
So, there you have it! The crow pose might be a tricky yoga pose to master, but once you have accomplished the pose, there are several variations that will challenge your balance, flexibility, and strength.