Poses by Type

Crane (Crow) Pose

A compact arm balance, Crane Pose/Crow Pose, called Bakasana in Sanskrit, encourages toning in the abs and the arms, strengthening in the core, and improves focus in the mind.


How to say Bakasana in Sanskirt

baka = crane

Crane (Crow Pose) Step-by-Step Instructions

Photo: Christopher Dougherty; Mat: Jade Yoga; Props: Hugger Mugger
  1. Begin in a squat with your feet together and your knees wide apart.
  2. Tilt your torso forward so that your shoulders fit between your knees.
  3. Grip your outer shoulders with your knees, and place your palms together in front of your sternum.
  4. Extend your sternum away from your navel while descending your tailbone toward the floor.
  5. Place your hands on the floor shoulder-distance apart and 6–8 inches ahead of your feet.
  6. Come high onto your toes, and shift forward until your elbows stack over your wrists.
  7. Continuing to reach your chest forward, lift your heels toward your buttocks.
  8. Roll the heads of your upper arms back and up, away from the floor.
  9. Your knees can either grip your outer shoulders or balance on your triceps.
  10. Press your arms as straight as possible while bringing your feet and buttocks toward each other.
  11. Hold for 5–10 breaths, then either release your feet to the floor or exit into Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose).


Crane (Crow) Pose Cues

Cautions and Contraindications of crow pose

  • Avoid or modify if you have wrist arthritis, wrist pain, or carpal tunnel
  • Avoid or modify if you have any back pain or injuries, including surgeries, osteoporosis, disc bulging or herniation, arthritis
  • Avoid if you have a hip replacement or hip pain in the pose
  • Caution for shoulder pain or injury
  • Caution or avoid if you are pregnant, particularly in the 2nd and 3rd trimester
  • Modifications and Props

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Benefits of crow pose

  • Improves focus
  • Stretches your buttocks (gluteals), front of thighs (quadriceps), and the palm side of your wrist (wrist flexors), which counteracts the effects of typing
  • Strengthens your core, upper back, chest, front of your hips (hip flexors), back of thighs (hamstrings), arms, shoulders, forearms, and back of wrists (wrist extensors)

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3 Ways to modify Crow pose

1. Crow Prep

Try just lifting one leg at a time

2. Crow with block

Photo: Christopher Dougherty; Mat: Jade Yoga; Props: Hugger Mugger

Try putting a block under your feet to get some lift and more space to play with the pose.

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Consider putting a blanket under your head for cushioning if you fall forward

Lift one leg at a time and maybe both legs

3. Supine Crow

Photo: Christopher Dougherty; Mat: Jade Yoga; Props: Hugger Mugger

Try coming into position on your back to practice

Bring your shins to the outside of your upper arms

You can keep your head down or lift for a few moments

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Preparatory Poses for Crow Pose

Follow-up Poses After crow pose

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