Yoga is a spiritual venture that employs the full dedication of your body, mind, and soul. Originating in Ancient India, it has now gained momentum all around the world. Many different forms have emerged since, and some extremely helpful poses have come to the forefront. The Bakasana Pose of Yoga is one of them!
The Bakasana pose of Yoga is also known as the Crane Pose or the Frog Stand. It is often the first arm balance pose that yoga students have to master. The key to incorporating effortless formation is finding the center of gravity of one’s body. Although it seems that the pose is all about arm strength, equal distribution of weight is essential.
Steps that lead to the Bakasana Pose
To form the Bakasana pose properly, the practitioner needs to follow the steps:
- Begin in a squatting position or the Malasana. Stretch your arms forward and place your palms on the ground.
- Bend the arms as if you would during a Low Plank (Chaturanga).
- Bring the knees on your outer upper arms and lift on your body on the tips of your toes.
- Bring your elbows wide so that you can place your knees up high on your upper arms.
- Lean towards your fingers and point your toes. Create resistance with your fingertips.
- Hollow the body by pulling the ribs in and rounding the back.
- Squeeze the elbows and the knees in.
- Before coming into the pose, shift your body weight further forward onto your arms.
- Now, you will be able to feel the flow of strength across the upper arms.
- Lift the head forward.
- Hold the position until your feet get light. You should lift the feet one at a time. It’s very important to engage your toes.
- Pull the ribs further in and suck in the belly.
- Squeeze your knees and upper arms against each other.
- Once you bring your toes to touch, you can eventually straighten your arms.
The fear of falling over is one of the biggest obstacles that practitioners have to face during their first time. To overcome that fear, there’s a slightly different way to enter Bakasana in Yoga:
- Put a blanket or pillow at the front of your mat.
- Come into Malasana and place your head on your cushioning first. Since the head is on the ground already, there is no risk of falling over.
- Lift the buttocks and step your feet further in.
- Engage your feet and bring your knees onto your upper arms.
- Lift one leg after the other and maintain the balance in this position.
- The forearms should be vertical here. Otherwise, you will not be able to balance this pose.
- From here, shift your body weight backwards so that you can slowly lift your head.
- Engage the toes
- Now, follow the steps from 11 to 13, as mentioned above.
What happens to the body during Bakasana pose of Yoga
For practicing any pose for yoga, such as the Bakasana, it is important to know what it does to your body, what muscles and which joints are affected when one goes into a certain posture. It is also essential in understanding proper alignment of the body during yoga practice.
The Bakasana pose is regarded as an arm-support pose that enhances symmetry of the body and balance. Here, the different parts of the spine perform different actions. While the cervical spine is extended, the thoracic and lumbar spine are flexed.
Along with the flexion of the thoracic spine, there also occurs the abduction of the scapulae and the extension of the cervical spine simultaneously. This consequence during the formation of the Crow posture requires precision and strength in the spinal muscles. The knees initially widen to come into the pose. However, the final action of the legs is adduction in order to squeeze the knees into the upper arms or shoulders.
Common Mistakes during Bakasana
The elbows should be kept in line with the shoulders and wrists once the Bakasana is formed. This is in order to keep the elbows from splaying and avoid injury. You can prevent this by planting your fingertips strongly on the ground and making sure your elbows are over your wrists. Ensure that the legs do not rest completely on the arms, and instead, the knees should be kept as high as possible. You should use the core muscles to hold the legs up and not just rely on your hips.
An imperative to make sure that you don’t lose balance and tip forwards is to ensure that your head is lifted upwards. Regular practice in a steady manner is important to master the pose.
Benefits of the Bakasana Pose
Bakasana is a yoga pose that strengthens the shoulders, the upper arms, the forearms and the wrists. In addition to that, it also tones the core muscles.
Bakasana is a great yoga pose to mobilize and stretch the upper back and the groins. It also increases the flexibility and elasticity of the spine and helps you improve your balance and full-body coordination.
- Stretches the buttocks (gluteals), front of thighs (quadriceps), and the palm side of the wrist (wrist flexors).
- Strengthens the core, upper back, chest, front of the hips (hip flexors), back of thighs (hamstrings), arms, shoulders, forearms, and back of wrists (wrist extensors).
In terms of spiritual benefits, Bakasana leads to:
- Relief from depression and stress
- Ensured focus and concentration
- Increase in confidence, introspection and self-awareness
- A calm, collected mind ready for meditation
- Stimulation of various chakras, like the solar plexus, third eye, crown, etc.
Cautions of the Bakasana
You can avoid or modify if you have wrist arthritis, wrist pain, or carpal tunnel.
Try to avoid or modify if you have any back pain or injuries, including surgeries, osteoporosis, disc bulging or herniation, or arthritis.
Avoid if you have a hip replacement or facing hip pain while in the pose.
Caution for shoulder pain or injury
Avoid if you are pregnant, particularly in the 2nd and 3rd trimester.
Ways to Adapt and Modify
- If Bakasana seems too difficult to master for a beginner, there are several options to facilitate access to this asana:
- When you feel your abdominal muscles become tired, rest your shins on your upper arms by bending the elbows deeper and out to the side so that you can rest your body weight on the arms.
- If you start with your hips a little higher, it becomes easier to use gravity to move forward into your arms.
- You can put a pillow or a blanket in front of you if the fear of falling over is restraining. These methods are necessary only until you get used to the technique.
If you have difficulties lifting both feet, start with raising one foot only and keep the big toe of the other foot on the floor. This tip will help you build strength and understand the right technique.
- The shape of this asana can be first practised on the back in the Happy Baby pose (Ananda Balasana). This pose is a great way to warm up your back and hips and help them release.
Arm-balancing is challenging at first but will become accessible when one has figured out what to pay attention to in alignment. Hence, understanding the core principles of correct yoga alignment is the key to mastering challenging asanas. With consistent practice and patience, one will gain the physical and mental strength that is required to lift the feet off the ground. Engaging in dedicated practice ensures that one will gain the experience required to overcome the difficulty of Bakasana or the Crow pose.