|Sanskrit Pronunciation||Bakasana (bah-KAHS-uh-nuh)|
|Meaning||Baka - Crane|
Asana - Pose
|Pose Level||Intermediate, Hold for 10-30 seconds|
|Beneficial In||Strengthening the arms and core|
Bakasana is an intermediate level balancing asana, in which, we balance our whole body-weight on our arms. This Yoga asana strengthens your wrist, forearms, abdominal muscles and stretches your upper back. It is a great pose that keeps you fresh and active, also brings sensations of joy and happiness.
It mainly focuses on the following muscles.
- Biceps, triceps, and forearms
- Wrist and palm
- Core, upper back and lowe back
Crane pose is the first and most basic arm balancing yoga pose that Yoga students learn. It is 62nd pose among 84 poses in the 17-century text, Hatha Ratnavali, which is supposed to be taught by Lord Shiva. Also, it can be seen among Iyenger Yoga sequences.
When we perform this asana, our body looks like a crane or Baka, standing on its both legs, therefore we call in Crane Pose or Bakasana. Straight arms resemble crane’s long legs and the rest of the body resembles the upper body of the crane.
This pose might seem complicated and hard, but it is not so complicated. Actually, it is quite fun to perform this asana. So let’s see how to perform this asana.
How to Perform Crane Pose?
As this asana is an intermediate level arm-balancing yoga pose, so, it requires a lot of strength and stability in the arms. Here are the detailed steps and instructions to perform the Crane Pose.
Preparing the Asana
- Firstly, stand straight on the top of your yoga mat in Tadasana/Mountain Pose. Keep your feet hip-width apart.
- Now, bend your knees and bring your hips down, toward heels of feet, coming into a squat position. Then, spread the thighs apart, a little wider than your torso.
- Now, tilt your torso slightly forward, and bring your upper arms between your knees. Now, press your elbows to the inner side of the knees and bring your palms together in prayer position.
This is the Garland Pose (Malasana). Take a couple of breaths here.
Getting Into the Pose
- With an exhalation place your palms on the mat about a foot in front of your feet and spread all fingers apart from each other. Your palms should be shoulder-width apart, elbows facing outward.
- Now, bend your elbows a little. Come on your toe balls and place your knees on your upper arms, close to armpits.
- With an inhalation, lean forwards and lift your feet off the floor, bringing your body weight on your arms. Raise your hips as much as you can and bring feet closer to the hips.
- Now, straighten the arms as much as you can, maintaining the body weight evenly on both hands. You can round your back if needed.
Hold this pose for 10-30 seconds according to your capacity, and breath normally.
Releasing the Asana
- When you are done, gently lower the body and place feet on the floor.
- Now, come to Malasana (Garland Pose). Then either sit back and relax or go for follow-up poses.
Beginner’s Tips and Suggestions
- In the beginning, lift the legs one by one, until you have enough strength and power to lift both at ones.
- Here your center of mass is a little above the navel. Try to bring that point right above the center of the distance between both hands. This will help you to maintain balance.
- Do not get frustrated if you fall while performing this asana. In the beginning, everybody falls while performing this asana.
- You can place a folded blanket or yoga blocks under your palms for a better grip and comfort.
- You can take the help of a partner for better support.
Precautions and Contraindications of Crane Pose
- While performing the asana, you might topple forwards and get hurt. So put something soft like a pile of pillows or blankets in front of you, so that you don’t get hurt if you topple forwards.
- Do not center the weight only on the wrist or fingers. Spread it evenly on the palms, fingers, and wrists of both hands.
- Try not to look back towards your heels, as it can cause disbalance. Try to look straight and forward.
- While performing this asana, do not spread out your elbows as it can put extra pressure on your wrists. Keep them in line with shoulders and elbows.
- Do not wear slippery cloths like silk cloths in this asana. As these cloths are slippery, they can create problems while tucking your knees.
- If you are suffering from disorders such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Spondylitis, do not perform this asana.
- As Crane Pose puts a lot of pressure in the abdomen region, so, performing it during pregnancy is not good for the health of the fetus. Therefore avoid this asana during pregnancy. Also, do not perform it during menstrual cycles.
- If you are having any recent or deep injury on your arms, shoulders, palms or abdomen, avoid this asana.
- While performing Bakasana, you will experience a sudden flow of blood to your head. So, a person suffering from migraines should avoid this asana.
- Adho-Mukha Shvanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
- Navasana (Boat Pose)
- Dandasana (Staff Pose)
- Garland Pose (Malasana)
- Adho-Mukha Shvanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
- Phalakasana (Plank Pose)
Difference between Crane Pose (Bakasna) and Crow Pose(Kakasana)
Crane Pose (Bakasna) looks very similar to its sister pose, Crow Pose (Kakasana). This creates a big confusion between these two.
Many people often tell these two poses as the same pose, but, these two are not the same. There is a little difference in the formation of these two asanas. Let’s discuss what is this difference.
While you perform crane pose, you tuck your knees on your armpits. Here your hips are lifted as high as possible and you round your back a little. Also, the most important thing is you have to keep the arms straight and engage your core, highly.
On the other hand, while you perform Kakasana/Crow Pose, you do not tuck your knees into armpits. Here you bend your arms from elbows and make almost 90 degrees angle with upper arms and forearms. Then you place your shins on your upper arms (triceps) and engage your lower belly.
We can also see the difference between these form the roots of their names. Crane is a taller bird with long legs, in comparison to crow. This is why we keep the arms straight in Crane Pose to form taller legs of Crane. On the other hand, we fold the arms to form shorter legs of a crow.
Benefits of Crane Pose/Bakasana
Crane Pose brings tremendous benefits to your physical and mental health. Here is a list of benefits of this asana
- This pose brings all the body weight to the arms. Holding this weight increases the strength of the arms.
- Crane Pose puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders, thus strengthens the muscles of shoulders and shoulder blades.
- This asana uses the muscles of the core, a lot. It tones them and makes them stronger.
- Bakasana stretches the muscles of the middle and lower back. It massages the spinal columns and stimulates a better flow of blood to the spine. Thus, it helps in keeping the spine healthy.
- This asana teaches us, how we can create a balance in our body. It brings awareness to the body and also prepares us to perform further intense arm balancing asanas.
- Through the pressure on the abdomen, it massages the abdominal organs. Thus, it improves the digestion and metabolism of the body.
- This asana brings sensations of joy and happiness. It makes the body more active and increases overall confidence.
Crane Pose can not be mastered overnight. It needs a lot of practice, focus, and patience.
The first thing that won’t let you do this asana is the fear of falling. So, at first, conquer the fear of falling. During the practice, you might fall many times, but the important thing is, getting up every time you fall and try again.
With constant efforts and practice, you will definitely master this asana.