Are you finding it difficult to teach crow pose effectively? When my yoga practice began arm balances were rarely taught in group yoga classes. I struggled with the posture myself for a really long time. But from that struggle I’ve learned nearly every tip in the book for crow pose and here I will share them. We will cover tips for teaching crow pose or bakasana (for all of you Sanskrit junkies), different ways to prep for it, and how to use props to assist entry into the posture.
I joke that it took me seven years to get crow pose. Maybe it wasn’t quite seven years, but it took me longer than average. Eventually, once I stopped freaking out about falling on my face or injuring my wrists, shoulders, etc. it happened. I nailed. The funny thing is before I mastered crow pose I was already practicing other arm balances. I guess with bakasana you risk falling flat on your face and I have a deep fear of falling… somewhere in my psyche I have linked falling and failing together into one big massive knot of fear and in crow pose you literally have to face your fears head on.
Learn to effectively teach your students to face their fears head on with Bakasana/Crow Pose.
Teach Crow Pose Effectively With These Alignment Tips
- Hands are shoulder width distance
- Fingers are spread wide
- Press down through the base knuckles of the fingers, especially through your index finger and thumb
- Dig fingertips into your mat
- Use hasta bandha
- Make sure the elbows are above the wrist and not “winging out to the side”
- the eye gaze, or drishti, is slightly forward toward the top of the mat (not back at your feet)
- Bring the knees as high up on the triceps as possible
- Squeeze knees and triceps into one another
- Engage mulabandha and uddiyana bandha as the hips lift high
- Tip forward slightly
- Guide the big toes toward one another
- Lift heels up toward your hips
- And breathe…
Prep Poses for Crow Pose
Remember to warm up before practicing crow pose. Before you teach Crow Pose prepare by teaching a few or all of the following postures.
- Happy Baby
- Lizard Pose
- Seated or Reclined Crow Pose
- Malasana- Yoga Squat
- Chaturanga Dandasana
- Boat Pose & Half Boat
- Wrist therapy
Props and Modifications for Crow Pose
For students with shoulder or wrist injuries offer seated crow pose or malasana.
In seated crow emphasize squeezing upper arms and knees squeezing in toward one another, the engagement of the pelvic floor and lower abdomen and rounding the upper back.
Offer malasana with or without a block underneath the pelvis. Encourage students to lift through mula bandha, press down through the feet, and squeeze upper arms and inner thighs/knees into one another.
For a student afraid of falling on their face offer a blanket or block underneath their forehead when you teach crow pose.
For a student struggling to find the engagement and balance in bakasana bring them over to the wall.
Set them up in malasana about a foot and one half away from the wall. Get them set up to come into the posture and have them press the top of their head into the wall as they work on lifting the feet off the ground.
For students struggling to lift their hips high in crow pose suggest a block under their feet. Lifting the hips up high can bring up a fear of falling for some students. If this is the case offer verbal encouragement. You may choose to provide a hands-on assist.
Advanced Variations for Crow Pose
For advanced students offer variations to challenge their strength and focus.
Teach crow pose to tripod headstand back to crow pose.
From crow pose teach a jump/float back to chaturanga and then forward to crow pose.
Offer up a bakasana fusion pose like: half tittibasana and half crow pose or half lolasana and half crow pose.
For students that have the strength and would like a challenge offer Eka Pada Bakasana (one legged crow pose).
Autumn is available for yoga instructors seeking mentorship. Have questions? Reach out and connect.