Kakasana and Bakasana are two common yoga poses, both of which are arm-based balances that involve balancing on your hands.
Kakasana is often considered a preparatory pose for Bakasana, which involves the straightening out of arms that are bent in the Kakasana and is considerably more challenging.
In this article, we’ll discuss the similarities and differences between the two poses! We’ll cover:
- Kakasana Basics
- Bakasana Basics
- Similarities and Differences between the two
- How to move between the Kakasana and Bakasana.
Let’s get started!
Kakasana, also known as the Crow Pose, is a foundational arm balance in yoga.
How to Do Kakasana
Warm-Up: Before doing the Kakasana it is important to start with a gentle warm-up to prepare your wrists, arms, and core.
Positioning: Begin squatting in the Malasana position, keeping your feet close together. Place your hands on the mat shoulder-width apart, fingers spread wide, and palms firmly pressed into the floor facing forward.
Next, lean forward slightly to shift your weight onto your hands, your knees should come to rest on the back of your upper arms, near your armpits.
Following that, engage your core and start to lift your feet off the ground. Begin by lifting one foot at a time. Once your feet are off the ground, balance your weight between your hands – engaging your core.
- Place your knees on the back of your upper arms, and start by bringing your knees to the outer edges of your triceps to create a wider base of support
- Use a yoga block or cushion under your forehead
- Engage your core muscles to help with stability
- Keep breathing steadily and do not hold your breath.
Ways to Increase Difficulty:
Once you are comfortable with the Crow Pose, you can explore advanced variations like the Crane Pose (Bakasana). The Bakasana pose involves straightening your arms.
You can also work on transitioning into and out of Crow Pose from other poses like Chaturanga or headstands.
Actions to Avoid:
- Learning too far forward
- Disengaging your core
- Holding your breath.
Bakasana is an advanced arm balance yoga pose that builds on the foundation of Kakasana.
How to Do Bakasana
Warm-Up: Start with a thorough warm-up, focusing on wrists, arms, and core.
Building on from the Kakasana: Begin in the Crow Pose (Kakasana) position described above. Then, shift your weight forward and start to lift your feet off the mat.
Make sure to keep your gaze forward and slightly down, instead of looking up! As you gain confidence, begin to straighten your arms – keeping a slight bend in your elbows to avoid hyperextension.
- Become confident with the Kakasana to build strength and balance before attempting Bakasana
- Use a cushion or yoga block under your forehead for added support and to alleviate any anxiety associated with the risk of falling forward
- Focus on squeezing your knees into your upper arms to create a stable base.
Ways to Increase Difficulty: As you become more comfortable in Bakasana, you can work on straightening your legs and bringing them closer to your buttocks.
Additionally, you can practice transitioning into and out of Bakasana from other poses like Chaturanga or handstands.
Actions to Avoid:
- Overarching your back
- Hyperextension of elbows, especially when straightening your arms
- Holding your breath.
Kakasana vs Bakasana
|Muscle Groups||Arm and core strength||Arm and core strength|
|Arm Position||Arms remain bent||Gradually straighten arms|
|Leg Position||Knees bent, feet close to buttocks||Legs often straightened, closer to chest|
|Hand Placement||Same at the beginning||Same at the beginning, but arms straighten|
|Gaze||Forward and down, near hands||Forward and slightly upward|
|Core Emphasis||Strong core engagement||Strong core engagement, more hip flexors|
|Advancement||Easier than Bakasana||More challenging, progress from Kakasana|
The Kakasana and Bakasana are very similar in principle. Not only do they start in the same foundational position, but the poses themselves are also very similar!
They largely require the same muscle groups and rely on both arm and core strength to maintain balance.
Whilst the two poses look very similar, there are some significant differences with the primary being the arm position.
In Kakasana, your arms remain bent, whereas in Bakasana the idea is to straighten your arms out. This makes the Kakasana easier than the Bakasana.
Additionally, the Kakasana also generally involves bending your knees and keeping your feet close to your buttocks, whilst Bakasana often includes straightening your legs and bringing them closer to your chest.
In Bakasana, you begin with the same hand placement as Kakasana.
However, the key difference is that as you progress into Bakasana, you gradually straighten your arms out while trying to maintain the same hand position.
In Kakasana, the recommended gaze is usually directed slightly forward and down approximately a few inches in front of your hands.
On the other hand, your gaze should be directed forward and slightly upward in Bakasana.
Both poses require strong core engagement, but Bakasana may demand a bit more emphasis on the hip flexors and lower abdominals because of the difference in leg placement.
Bakasana is considered to be a more challenging variation of the Kakasana.
Therefore, make sure that you can comfortably hold the Kakasana for an extended period of time before tackling the Bakasana!
Which Pose Is Best For You?
If you are a beginner, consider mastering the Bakasana before moving on to the Bakasana.
Other poses for beginners:
- Mountain Pose/ Tadasana
- Child’s Pose/ Balasana
- Downward Dog/ Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Upward Dog/ Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
- Cat-Cow Pose/ Marjaryasana-Bitilasana
- Cobra Pose/ Bhujangasana.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the disadvantages of Kakasana?
While Bakasana offers numerous benefits for physical and mental well-being, there are some potential disadvantages associated with the pose such as:
- Wrist strain
- Risk of falling
- Shoulder strain
- Pressure on elbows.
Is Crow Pose easier than a handstand?
Generally speaking, the Crow Pose is considered to be slightly easier than a handstand. The Crow Pose is often one of the first arm balances that beginners learn.
It provides a foundation for understanding how to balance your hands and build upper body strength.
Which is harder, crow or side crow?
The Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana) is generally considered more challenging than Crow Pose (Kakasana) due to the additional element of twisting. It also requires more strength and flexibility in the core and hip muscles.