If you’re still intimidated or struggling with Crow, here are some ways to build up to it.
To get into the full expression of Crow, you will need some upper body strength. Luckily, there are so many yoga poses to help you out in that area. Plank will incorporate the arms, but a Forearm Plank even more so. From Forearm Plank, lift the tailbone and find Dolphin Pose.
Crow is just as much about the core as it is about the arms. Engaging this area helps to steady and support your body. To prep your core, try practicing Boat and Plank Pose as much as possible. Play with holding each for long periods of time, or moving through them fluidly to tone different muscles.
Another good way to start using the arm and core muscles more is in your transitions. We often focus so much on the poses themselves, that we tend to get lazy on the transitions. But this is where you can really start to build muscle by supporting you body through purposeful, controlled movement.
Once you’ve put all the work in, you still need to get your body ready for the real deal.
It’s a great idea to practice Crow by just lifting one foot at a time. So, from a wide squat, you want to place your hands on the floor in front of you, as wide as your shoulders. Then, start to straighten your legs, placing your knees on the arms, as close to the armpit as possible. Start to lean your body forward so the toes of one foot start to come off the ground.
Just hang out here getting comfortable with the way your body feels. Then, switch it up, giving it a try on the other leg. Once this feels ok, you can play with getting that other foot off the ground, even if it’s just for a second.
One of the keys to balancing in this pose, as with any other, is to find a focal point. For Crow, it’s important to focus in front of you rather than under you, as the body tends to follow the gaze. Looking down could mean falling down on your face!
Once you’ve got both feet off the ground, you can start to work on getting the arms straight as well, as this is the full expression of the pose. The idea is not that your legs are resting on the arms, but rather that the core and arms are supporting you and the legs are simply squeezing into the arms.
Mastering Crow Pose can take years, but it is totally attainable and a gateway to all the other arm balancing poses. Working on your strength a little bit every day will have incredible benefits for your practice.