One of the first arm balancing poses typically taught in a yoga asana class is bakasana, the crane, also known as crow pose. Arm balancing is scary for many people. The first time you take both feet from the floor and put your weight into your hands, trusting yourself to not face-plant, can be quite exhilarating and empowering as well. We often put our faith in others abilities to hold us up, whether emotionally, spiritually or physically. We are willing to make ourselves vulnerable to another. Putting faith in ourselves can be quite a different ball game. Taking an arm-balancing pose, when viewed in this way, is just another life lesson found on the yoga mat. Do you trust in your ability? Are you willing to take the chance of falling, but come back the next day and believe in yourself all over again? Do you trust yourself to know whether or not it’s time for you to balance on your own two hands?
When we trust in our own abilities to take care of ourselves, to believe in ourselves and to always do what’s right for ourselves we are truly empowered. We know that while we may need help in our lives, that is not an indication of weakness, but rather the strength needed to know what we need in every given situation. We know how to take care of ourselves.
To take the pose bakasana, come into a squat from standing. The feet will be relatively close together and the buttocks will drop toward the floor. Let the buttocks be heavy in this position. Place the hands on the floor approximately shoulder distance apart . The hands may feel more with the fingers turned in slightly. Bend your elbows so that they are in one of two positions: inside your knees or with your knees resting on your upper arms above the elbows. Different people feel more comfortable in different positions, do what feels best for you. At this point you need to engage your core muscles. Use your bandhas. By pulling in at the knees, squeezing the stomach muscles and pulling up at the pelvic floor you bring your muscle energy inward. Once you feel that pull in you are ready to fly! Bring your weight more into your hands and allow your body to just rock back and forth to start, playing with the idea of placing all of your weight into your hands. When you feel ready (which can take a long time- don’t judge yourself) take one foot from the floor. This might be where you stay forever and your lesson is to feel okay with that. If you feel ready, though, remove both feet from the floor. If you are not engaging the core muscles there’s a good chance you will fall on your face so be sure you feel ready. Once you’ve mastered bakasana, the sky’s the limit! You’ll find you can fly in a variety of positions. Shown below are photos of the two different placements for the knees while in this empowering pose.