Kakasana is one of the best yoga poses for beginners as it is a simple ‘arm balance asana’. The term Kakasana is a combination of the words kak (the Sanskrit word for Crow) and asana (meaning posture). This pose requires a considerable amount of strength in the arms and shoulders which is why it is not considered to be one of the best yoga poses for beginners. However, this does not mean that yoga beginners cannot do this pose, it simply means that you need to have some level of physical fitness before you attempt this asana. Kakasana strengthens the muscles of the arms as well as the core and promotes good form which is why it is one of the most commonly recommended yoga postures for people who are interested in overall fitness. Start with a routine that includes yoga exercises for beginners as well as basic yoga poses and once you are proficient in these, you can move on to more challenging asanas such as Kakasana.
How To Perform Kakasana (Crow Pose)
Kakasana should be performed at least 4-6 hours after a meal and it is preferable that your stomach (and bowels) are empty at this time. You should also perform a few preparatory asanas as this will prepare you both physically and mentally to perform Kakasana. You can learn a few Kakasana prep poses such as Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose), Baddha Koṇasana (Bound Angle pose, Balasana (Child’s pose), Virasana (Hero pose), and Phalakasana (Plank pose) before you learn how to do Crow pose. These prep poses for Kakasana are basic yoga poses that will gently stretch and strengthen the muscles of your arms as well improve your balance so that you can perform this pose correctly. These are the 6 Crow pose steps:
1. To begin this asana, start in the Virasana (Hero pose) where you assume a kneeling position before easing yourself back until you buttocks are resting on your heels.
2. Rest your body weight on your knees and move your arms forward until you torso is parallel to the ground. Spread your fingers so that your palms rest evenly on the mat and ensure that the outer edge of your shoulders is in line with your middle fingers.
3. Lift your knees off the mat, stretch your legs out straight behind you and balance your weight on your toes.
4. Exhale and then slowly lower your body so that your upper arms are as straight as possible and almost parallel to the floor. Look straight ahead and do not let your head drop down.
5. Your entire body should be parallel to the floor and the tips of your elbows should touch the sides of your torso as you lower yourself.
6. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds.
Follow these Kakasana steps carefully and do not make any changes to them. It is important to follow the Kakasana sequence of steps to maximise the effects of this asana and to ensure that you do not place unnecessary strain on your muscles.
How To Release From Kakasana (Crow Pose)
To release from Kakasana, exhale and slowly lower your feet back onto your mat. You can then move into Uttanasana (Intense Forward-Bending pose) or go back to Virasana (Hero pose). You can also go to the Crane Pose (Bakasana) as this pose is almost exactly the same as Kakasana, with the exception that you have to straighten your arms completely when you are in the final position of this asana.
Similar Poses To Kakasana (Crow Pose)
There are a few other poses that are similar to Kakasana and you can include them in your yoga routine to relieve any tension in your arms, shoulders or upper back.
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog pose
Tittibhasana – Firefly Pose
Chaturanga Dandasana – Four-Limbed Staff pose
Phalakasana – Plank pose
These poses will enhance the benefits of Kakasana and will also help to increase your focus and concentration.
Benefits Of Kakasana (Crow Pose)
Makes your wrists and arms stronger
Tones and strengthens your abdomen by engaging your core stomach muscles
Stretches out and aligns your spine
Enhances posture and improves the ability to sustain arm balance poses for a longer period of time
Improves your sense of balance and focus
Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to increase muscle flexibility and body tone while also eliminating stress and anxiety. Most of us spend several hours working at a computer which has led to an increase in back problems and wrist problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Yoga for strengthening wrists will help to prevent such problems and will also help to ease discomfort in these muscles and joints. While there are many benefits of Kakasana and it is undoubtedly one of the best wrist strengthening yoga asanas, you should ensure that you are doing it correctly as doing this pose incorrectly can put a great deal of stress on your elbow and wrist joints.
There are several Kakasana variations depending on whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced practitioner. Kakasana can also be done on a block so that it is easier for you to lift your feet off the floor. This is one of the best modifications of Kakasana for beginners and people with weak arms. While there are several yoga poses that work wonders for pregnant women, it is advisable to avoid this pose when you are pregnant. Kakasana is both physically challenging and mentally taxing as it requires immense focus and determination. One of the most common mistakes made by yoga beginners is to only focus on the physical changes in each pose and ignore the mental focus aspect of the asana. However, with regular yoga practice you will be able to overcome this problem.
Contraindications Of Kakasana (The Crow Pose)
While the benefits and importance of Kakasana are immense, there are certain circumstances when you should avoid this pose. Avoid practicing this asana if you are suffering from any kind of wrist or shoulder injury. This asana is also not recommended for those with Carpal tunnel syndrome. The Crow pose for beginners consists of the same steps but the amount of time spent holding this position is generally much less.
Tips For Kakasana (Crow Pose)
Don’t let your head sink low but don’t try to look up either – keep your gaze about a foot in front of you and your neck should be in line with your spine.