Bakasana, crow pose, is a great place to practice the trust that leads to flight. It might seem counterintuitive, but getting into this pose has little to do with the strength of your arms. Like all asana, it’s about alignment – knowing how your muscles and bones should line up and where the strength of the pose lies. In the case of bakasana, the strength is in the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor is an important set of muscles that are often overlooked. This band of muscles beneath the belly holds your organs in your body. When it is regularly engaged through poses like bakasana or the sit down/stand up practice we’ll feature next month, you’ll feel stronger and more energized throughout your entire body. A toned pelvic floor keeps our digestive and reproductive organs healthy, prevents back pain and ensures proper alignment both on and off the Yoga mat. And most importantly, it promotes energy flow between your lower and upper body, which is integral for good health and well-being.
Even though you can’t see your pelvic floor, you can trust that it is there to support you in bakasana. This is how you will take flight.
Here at Hale Pule, we talk about asana postures with three designations: essence, anchor and strength. This is a simple tool to remember the intention of the pose, where your body is grounded and the muscles you engage for proper alignment. These components will support optimal energy flow and provide a sustainable practice that you can continue throughout life.
Bakasana from the ground up
To build trust in your ability to fly, place a cushion or blanket on the floor in front of you. This makes it much more comfortable and easier to laugh at yourself if you have an unexpected crash landing.
2. Bend your knees and connect the front of your knees to your triceps as close to your underarms as possible. Keep your buttocks in the air and your gaze forward. Keeping your elbows bent straight back for stability and knees firmly planted on your triceps, exhale to lift onto the balls of your feet, transferring your weight toward your arms. Keep your gaze out at the wall in front of you.
3. Your pelvic floor will engage as you pick one foot up at a time or both at once if you feel balanced. For both variations, keep your feet active by pointing your toes toward your tailbone. This will assist the engagement of the pelvic floor. Find a place of balance where you are breathing easily, allowing prana to flow throughout your body. Keep your gaze ahead, down the tip of your nose or a spot out in front of you and hold for 15-20 breaths. If you can’t feel your pelvic floor engage, simply take your attention just above the pubic bone, inside, and your attention there will activate the energy.
Head down. When you look down, you’ll fall down, because your head is the heaviest part of your body. Balance is a matter of your mind, so your fixed gaze in front of you will help to find that sweet spot. Look ahead at the wall in front of your hands, then gaze down the tip of your nose if possible.