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Bakasana Crane Yoga Pose E-mail
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Bakasana Crane PoseBakasana ((bahk-AHS-anna) is a yoga pose that focuses on balance and uses predominately the wrists. By doing this Asana, your back becomes stretched in its entire length. With that, your arms, joints and shoulders are strengthened and you develop your sense of balance, coordination and concentration.

Bakasana is a great posture to introduce arm balances. The other is Astavakrasana.

History of the Bakasana Pose

The pose is derived from the sanskrit word baka = crane. Hence, this posture is better known as “The crane posture”. 

Bakasana Pose Technique

  • Squat down from Tadasana with your inner feet a few inches apart. If it isn't possible to keep your heels on the floor, support them on a thickly folded blanket. Separate your knees wider than your hips and lean the torso forward, between the inner thighs. Stretch your arms forward, then bend your elbows, place your hands on the floor and the backs of the upper arms against the shins.

    Lift your feet and keep your balance on your hands. Try stretching your back in order to keep your chest free. Breathe in and out quietly and concentrate on a spot in front of you. As you progress, try to keep up this exercise longer and longer and to work out the stretching of the back further and further.

    Exhale and lean forward even more onto the backs of your upper arms, to the point where the balls of your feet leave the floor. Beginners might want to stop here, perched securely on the bent arms. But if you are ready to go further, squeeze the legs against the arms, press the inner hands firmly to the floor and (with an inhalation) straighten the elbows.  Keep the head in a neutral position with your eyes looking at the floor, or lift the head slightly, without compressing the back of the neck, and look forward. The inner knees should be glued to the outer arms, high up near the armpits.

    Stay in the pose anywhere from 20 seconds to 1 minute. 

    To release, exhale and slowly lower your feet to the floor, back into a squat.

Bakasana Pose Tips

Look at one point. It is always easier to maintain balance when the gaze is fixed.

Beginners tend to move into this pose by lifting their buttocks high away from their heels. In Bakasana try to keep yourself tucked tight, with the heels and buttocks close together.

When you are ready to take the feet off the floor, push the upper arms against the shins and draw your inner groins deep into the pelvis to help you with the lift.

Bakasana Pose Variations

The most accessible variation of Bakasana is a twist: Parsva Bakasana (pronounced PARSH-vah, parsva = side or flank).

  • Squat as described above, but keep your knees together.
  • Exhale and turn your torso to the right, bracing the left elbow to the outside of the right knee.
  • Work the arm along the knee, until the knee is firm against the upper arm, near the armpit.
  • Set the hands on the floor, lean to the right, and lift the feet off the floor on an exhalation, balancing with the outer left arm pressed against the outer right leg.
  • Straighten the arms as much as possible, though no doubt for most students the elbows will remain slightly bent.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds
  • Exhale back to the squat
  • Repeat to the left for 15 to 30 seconds 

The harder version of this posture is performed with the arms straight. In the harder version there is a slight tilt forward. This compresses the front of the wrists. For this reason many practitioners curl the finger slightly and engage many of the muscles in the forearms and wrists. This creates a little extra lift which reduces the compression on them.  In the easier version the weights force is distributed more freely over the wrists.  

Bakasana Pose Benefits

  • Strengthens the arms
  • Strengthens the wrists
  • Stretches the upper back
  • Strengthens and tones the abdominal muscles
  • Opens the groins

Cautions

Bakasana is considered to be an intermediate to advanced pose. Do not perform this pose without sufficient prior experience or unless you have the supervision of an experienced teacher.
 

Contraindications

  • Wrist injury
  • Back injury
  • Neck injury
  • Headache
  • Heart condition
  • High blood pressure
  • Any history of strokes are also contraindications to doing the headstand.
  • Pregnancy: If you are experienced with this pose, you can continue to practice it late into pregnancy. However, don't take up the practice of Sirsasana after you become pregnant.
  • Menstruation
 
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