Half Crow Pose

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Half Crow Pose or Ek Pada Bakasana is also called the One Legged Crane Pose.

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The Half Crow Pose is one of the most beneficial of the balancing poses, and is definitely one of the hardest yoga poses. It takes ample patience, strength, discipline, time and attention to master it. However, with a firm routine and discipline, the pose becomes easier to practice. The Half Crow Pose strengthens the arms, wrists, shoulders and promotes physical and mental balance.

Steps

The Half Crow Pose Steps are as follows:

  • Come into a low squatting position with the feet and knees wide apart. Spread the fingers wide apart. Place the palms flat on the floor; rotating the hands so that the fingers are pointing inwards. Your hands should be between the legs and directly beneath the shoulders.
  • Move into in a shorter stance of the Adho Mukha Asana or the Downward Facing Dog. Lift the right leg up in the air as you bend the knee, and place it on the outer edge of your right arm as high as possible. Bend the elbows and keep looking forward. Hips high in the air, slowly move your left foot such that you can elevate the hips. It is very important to keep the hips elevated at all times. Hold this position for a few breaths.
  • Keep bending the elbows and keep moving the back foot until it lifts. Engaging the lower belly, slowly extend the back leg as soon as it lifts off the ground. Make the leg straight and spread the toes as you hold it high up. The back should be rounded with elbows tight and eyes fixed straight ahead. Your right knee should be placed firmly on your upper arm.
  • Release and repeat on the other side.

Precautions

Some of the precautions associated with the Half Crow Pose are as follows:

  • Avoid the Half Crow Pose if you have shoulder, back or spine injuries. People who have suffered from shoulder dislocation should skip this pose altogether.
  • Take care if you have carpal tunnel syndrome as there is a lot of pressure placed on the wrists when executing this pose. Consult your doctor before attempting the pose.
  • The Half Crow Pose is not advisable for pregnant women and for people suffering from hypertension.
  • Also, while practicing the pose, do not move too fast and keep your hands fully grounded to retain balance.
  • Do not hold the breath and avoid squeezing the neck or shoulders.

Beginner’s Tip

Keep your eyes focussed and keep breathing easy to relax the muscles. Beginners should try to perfect the Crow Pose first to improve the balance in the body. In the Crow Pose, keep the heels and buttocks together and press the upper arms across the shins and draw the groin into the pelvis to help with the lift.

Some people may find it hard to lift off from the floor when attempting the Half Crow Pose. It can be helpful in the beginning to squat on a block or any other elevated surface to keep the feet a few inches off the floor.

Benefit to Body Parts

The Half Crow Pose has the following effect on different body parts.

  • The Half Crow Pose conditions the arms and the shoulders. It is particularly effective in strengthening the wrists when done correctly over a period of time.
  • It increases breathing capacity by expanding the chest.
  • The muscles of the fingers, wrists, and forearms are stretched.
  • The pose increases abdomen strength and tones the internal organs.
  • It opens up the thighs.
  • This pose improves the overall body muscle co-ordination.
  • The Half Crow Pose provides a good stretch to the back and groin.
  • This pose also stimulates the digestive organs.

Therapeutic Applications

The following are the therapeutic application of the Half Crow Pose:

  • The Half Crow Pose helps to increase the power of concentration.
  • It boosts physical and mental balance.
  • The pose helps removes lethargy and energizes the body.
  • The Half Crow Pose helps build confidence and reduces stress.
  • The Half Crow Pose aids and improves digestion.
  • The pose helps relieve lower back pain.

Variations

  • Crow Pose II or Ek Pada Bakasana II is the simple variation of the Half Crow Pose. Start from the beginning and place one arm in front of one shin and the other leg on top of the other arm. Reach forward and lift the hips by pressing both the legs against their respective arms or move the back leg forward from Half Crow Pose and press it against the top of the shoulder or arm. Press both legs down against the arm.
  • Alternatively, Mayurasana, the Peacock Pose, can also be done as a variation to the Half Crow Pose. The Peacock Pose is an even harder pose and should be practiced only after you have mastered the Half Crow Pose.

Preparatory Poses

The preparatory poses for the Half Crow Pose are as follows:

Follow Up Poses

Some of the follow-up poses for the Half Crow Pose include the following. These help counter the stretch.

The Half Crow pose can be very intimidating at the start, so it is important not to get disheartened if you cannot get it right the first time. Practice, consistency, and the willingness to endure will eventually enable you to lift the feet off the floor. It also helps to perform this pose under the guidance of an instructor. He/she will be able to help you lift your legs and will also ensure that you do not injure yourself while performing the pose.

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