Crow pose, also known as frog stand or kakasana, in Sanskrit, is a hatha yoga pose that students of yoga often start with when entering the fun world of arm balancing yoga.
The pose involves balancing on the hands, feet off the ground, with the knees tucked into the body.
While often confused with crane pose (bakasana), the difference between the two is that crow pose is performed with bent arms.
The crow pose is considered an intermediate yoga pose. Yet, despite the apparent strength needed to perform the pose, the crow pose actually involves an even application of strength and balance.
In other words: the crow pose can be achieved by beginner yoga students with the right technique. Thankfully, there are also crow pose variations, or crow pose progressions, that can be learnt as stepping stones towards achieving the full crow pose!
Not only is the crow pose an impressive yoga move, but a great way to build upper body strength. It is also a springboard to more advanced arm balancing yoga poses, such as the peacock pose, headstand and handstand.
If you are looking for the best methods for learning the crow pose, you have landed at the right place. Below, we have listed the benefits of crow pose, as well as how to do crow pose – including beginner progressions and crow pose tips and tricks.
Crow Pose Benefits
As mentioned above, the crow pose is one of the best yoga exercises for building upper body strength. More specifically, the front delts.
But, as a static hold, the crow pose also strengthens other muscles, including the traps, biceps and abdominals.
At the same time, it’s even an effective way to strengthen the wrist joints. This, in particular, offers many benefits down the line, such as reducing the risk of osteoarthritis and carpal tunnel.
Other benefits of crow pose include improved overall balance and proprioception – the ability to sense where your limbs are in space. Proprioception is worth getting the hang of early on, especially if you want to move on to more advanced arm balance yoga moves.
Crow Pose Tips
Before we get into learning the crow pose, here are a few helpful tips and tricks to be mindful of.
- Practice with a pillow, cushion or folded blanket placed in front of you. This will prevent injury or harm if you fall forwards.
- If you are afraid of falling forwards, place a small box, or pile of books, to rest your forehead on while you practice.
- If you feel yourself tipping over, a safe way to exit the crow pose is by performing a forward roll (ideally on grass or a yoga mat).
- Always perform the crow pose with tucked elbows, close to your ribs. This is the optimal form and the safest way.
- Make sure to warm up your wrists before practicing the crow pose to avoid injury.
Last but not least, be patient. The crow pose involves balance and strength, so it will take some getting used to. Enjoy the journey without thinking too much about the destination.
How to Do Crow Pose
The best way to learn crow pose is through incremental steps. Below, we have listed three progressions for unlocking the full crow pose. And anyone, even beginners, can jump right into the first progression.
Crow Pose Progression #1 – Baby Crow Pose
Not only is the baby crow pose a quick way to perform a variation of the crow pose and get an experience of how it feels, but it’s super-fun!
To do a baby crow pose, squat and place your forearms on the floor, palms flat. With your knees tucked on the outside of your elbows, lean forwards and shift all your weight onto your forearms. If your weight is properly distributed, your face will be close to the floor and your feet will lift off the ground.
Crow Pose Progression #2 – Crow Pose with Knees Outside
It’s important to note that performing the crow pose with the knees outside of the arms makes the exercise easier.
But, before attempting to hold this variation of crow pose for the first time, it’s best to get a feel of the pose while strengthening the muscles. To do this, rock forwards into the pose with your feet off the floor, holding for a second before returning to your feet. Once comfortable, you can begin to balance and hold the pose for several seconds at a time.
To do a crow pose with the knees outside of the arms, squat and place your palms flat on the floor. Your knees should be tucked in, just outside your elbows. Lean forwards, bending your elbows – as though you are about to do a forward roll – and shift all your weight onto your hands. As your elbows come directly over your hands, your feet will lift off the ground.
Crow Pose Progression #3 – Crow Pose with Knees In
The crow pose with the knees tucked into the triceps is considered the final variation of the crow pose. It is the hardest, but also the one that is the most rewarding once achieved!
For some, this variation might even be considered easier than having the knees outside the elbows. This is because the knees are “resting” on the triceps, alleviating some of the weight. It does, however, require leaning further forwards as well as more balance control.
To do a crow pose with the knees in, bend over and place your palms flat on the floor. Bend your elbows and position your kneecaps so that they are touching the highest part of your triceps. Lean and begin to shift your weight forwards so that your elbows come directly over your hands. Point your toes and balance by pressing your palms and fingertips.
And that’s it! You have unlocked the fun, and very cool-looking, yoga crow pose.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should you hold crow pose?
To start, lean or rock forwards into the crow pose for a second or two to get a feel of the technique and weight shift. Once you are comfortable, you can begin to hold the crow pose for timed sets. Start with five seconds, then gradually increase the time you hold the position as your balance and strength improves.
What helps with crow pose?
As the crow pose involves a small foundation of upper body strength (mainly in the shoulders), you can build strength for the crow pose, or improve your crow pose hold, with push-ups, pike push-ups, downward facing dog and four-limbed staff pose (chaturanga dandasana).