asana of the month – bakasana

each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons.

yoga teacher and blogger kelly golden writes the following about bakasana:

traditionally birds like the crane and the crow were thought to be messengers from the gods. when the first dalai lama was born, it was said that he was visited by black crows. and through the ability to fly, these birds transcend the heaviness of a mortal existence and live in the expanse between this finite world and the next. cranes are symbols of loyalty and communication, and in many traditions are thought to bridge the gap between the earth and the heavens.

whether you know bakasana as the crane or the crow, its effect is one of transcendence. rising above our perceived limitations and taking off in flight. bakasana is a pose that requires strength and focus and the ability to trust. the initial approach to this asana is often one of trepidation. just like a baby bird that has all of the tools for flight, but doubts their strength and ability, bakasana can often bring up doubts and fears. “what if i fall flat on my face? what if i’m not strong enough to hold myself?”

but, just like that baby bird, we cautiously approach our flight. first engaging our core of support in the belly and shifting our weight into our hands with our feet still planted on the ground. we breathe and we begin to trust ourselves. this act of trust prepares us to become more open to take a chance, so we gingerly lift one foot off the ground, balancing on our remaining toes, and we feel. again we return to the breath and our expanding feeling of trust and strength and “lift off.” maybe for only a moment or maybe for a series of breaths, we fly. we transcend the limits we have placed on ourselves, and we connect with something much higher, much freer.”

bakasana (crane or crow pose):
baka = crane

benefits [cited in yogajournal.com]:
• strengthens the arms and wrists
• stretches the upper back
• strengthens the abdominal muscles
• tones the abdominal organs
• opens the groins

cautions/contraindications:
• carpal tunnel syndrome
• pregnancy

preparatory poses:
• adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog)
• baddha konasana (bound angle or cobbler’s pose)
• balasana (child’s pose)
• plank pose
• virasana (hero’s pose)

song that most comes to mind after having fallen out of the posture multiple times:
“rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.”

———————————
asana girl, aka danielle polen, is a tranquil space yoga teacher.

—-

Comments are closed.