Is there anything more impressive than seeing someone flying in an arm balance?
You’ve got to admit, being able to control your body through space on just your hands is a pretty impressive move, no matter what the pose!
When I started doing a deep dive into the world of instagram yogis, feeds were full of handstands, flying pigeon, figure 8 poses and with different variations. I was hooked on the idea of being able to do any of these.
The elusive pose for me right now is the handstand. And not just being able to kick up into one but lift my feet from the floor as if I’m growing from my hands.
Baby steps though…one day!
The first arm balance I managed to get was the crow pose.
The feeling of accomplishment just being able to hold this for 30 seconds was a buzz, my first real sense of improvement in the yoga world.
Read on to learn what the crow pose can do for you and how to do it.
It’s not going to shock you to learn that this is a great pose for strengthening the arms and the shoulders. There’s a certain feeling (or pump, in bro talk) that you can only get from an isometric hold.
Muscles that are targeted in this pose are...
This pose for me was about perseverance. It’s a perfect pose for upper body strengthening and my strength soared through the roof.
Benefits of this awesome pose include...
Strengthening and toning of your abs
Strengthens your arms
Creates strength and lengthens the back
Creates awesome strength in the wrists.
Increases relative strength like you wouldn’t believe!
Limitations that could hold you back
This pose is more about strength so, clearly, that could be a limiting factor.
Weak hip flexors - Sounds weird but I’ve found that the further my knees go up my arms, the more it feels like they are dragging down the back of my arms…and that’s not a nice feeling! I’m putting that down to my hip flexors not being able to keep my legs in the position needed
Haven’t trained the movement yet - Obvious but the reason I point this out is there is an element of motor learning to this movement. You are certainly going to fall back onto your toes or, more likely, fall forward onto your face. This is going to happen so make peace with this now and laugh it off! To begin with, place a pillow in front of you to protect that nose of yours
Weak shoulders / arms / wrists - You can work unto the full pose but start with forward leans onto your wrists. Put your knees onto your elbows and lean forward with your feet still on the floor. Just start by training your hands and arms.
Steps towards crow pose
I’ve found there are many variations of where the knees are placed on your arms. What I’ve found to be the most comfortable to start with is to have my knees on my elbows so I’ll walk you through this variation.
Start by standing upright, arms by your sides and legs about mat width apart.
We’re going to squat down, keeping chest up and hips back.
Bring your hands to the floor and your arms in front of your legs. Wrists should be under your shoulders. Big focus here on your hands and fingers. Press the pads of your fingers into the ground, as if you’re trying to grab the mat.
Lean your torso forward and bend your arms, keeping your gaze to a point on the floor in front of you. As you lean forward, place your knees onto of your elbows (think of having a straight arrow going through your knees and elbows.) and start lifting your feet off the ground.
Lift your feet towards your butt. This can be difficult to do at the same time, together, to begin with so you can always lift one foot to begin with and then the second foot
Ensure there is equal weight in the palms and fingers. They play a massive part in this pose (obviously!) but what I mean is don’t just be passive. Keep grabbing that floor and imagine you’re pulling the floor back with your fingers.
It’s cool if you want to stay here but if you can think about your feet without falling over, start to think about point your toes and bringing them close together, so big toes touch.
Don’t forget to breath steadily!
To come out of it, just lean back and sit back onto your toes
I would start by greasing the groove and work up towards 30 seconds and a minute.
How to make it more challenging
You can make this more challenging by placing your knees further up your arms (like, knees towards your arm pits) and by straightening your arms more.
Give this a go and let me know how you get on. I hope you get the same buzz from the pose as I did!
In a bit.