Yoga can feel inaccessible if you're constantly comparing yourself to others in class, but setting goals can help you gain confidence and feel like the badass yogi you are. Crow pose (demonstrated here by NYC-based trainer Rachel Mariotti) is a great asana to work toward because it hits so many muscles at once—but doesn't take months and months to master. (Also master Chaturanga for total-body strengthening benefits.)
"This pose is a gateway for more advanced arm balances and is incredibly empowering for those that even attempt to fly," says Heather Peterson, chief yoga officer at CorePower Yoga.
Work on this pose by starting in forward fold, then moving to squat. Eventually, you'll be able to float forward into crow from downward facing dog. Neither method is an easy feat, so follow both with a restorative pose like child's pose for three to five breaths.
Yoga Crow Pose Benefits and Variations
Trying advanced balancing poses like crow will change your perspective and help you progress to other arm balances like firefly, one-legged crow variations, and hurdler pose, says Peterson. (It'll also help you work up to a handstand.) Crow is all about strengthening the muscles on the front of your body while engaging your core to help balance. You'll realize just how important smaller muscles in your wrist and forearms are and start to build strength there.
If you have wrist pain, you can modify crow by using blocks under your hands, or stay in squat pose to avoid bearing weight in your hands.
Want an even greater challenge? Take it to the next level by bringing your knees to your armpits and straightening your arms. "Eventually, ignite your core, move your hips over your shoulders, and lift your legs into handstand," suggests Peterson.
How to Do Crow Pose
A. From forward fold, separate feet hip-width distance apart or wider. Squat down with heels in, toes out, and elbows pressing into inner thighs, hands at heart center. Pause for 3 to 5 breaths to prepare.
B. Plant hands on mat slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and spread fingers wide. Bend elbows and point them to back wall.
C. Bring knees onto backs of triceps or place knees into armpits.
D. Gaze about a foot in front of hands and shift weight forward into hands.
E. Lift one foot off mat, then the other. Draw inner big toe mounds and inner heels to touch.
Hold for 3 to 5 breaths then lower down with control.
Crow Pose Form Tips
- While in plank, imagine rotating palms to fire up muscles between and on the back of shoulder blades.
- Pull front ribs in and round spine while drawing inner thighs together.