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Yoga Sequences

Challenge Pose: 4 Steps To Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana)

Use Kathryn Budig's three-pose prep to wake up Parsva Bakasana's key players in your body and get geared up for takeoff.

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Use this three-pose prep to wake up Parsva Bakasana’s key players and get geared up for takeoff.

Side Crow is an alluring arm balance, but try it once and you’ll probably see the old “if at first you don’t succeed” mantra applies to this asana (like many others). The following three poses will prepare you by bringing awareness to the areas of the body that need to be opened, strengthened, and awakened to bring the arm balance to life. Enjoy your flight!

See also 3 Steps to Prep Your Core for Side Crow (Crane) Pose

Reclining Side Crow

kathryn budig, reclining side crow, supta parsva bakasana

Supta Parsva Bakasana

Lie on your back and pull your knees tight to your chest. Do a simple spinal twist to each side for 8 breaths. Return to center keeping your knees close to your chest. Begin to lower the knees together as a team toward a spinal twist, but stop when you’re halfway to the ground (you’ll feel your core fire up). Hug the legs tight together. Curl up and extend both of your arms shoulder-width apart in front of you. Pull the knees tighter toward your chest so that your right outer arm touches your left outer leg. Hold for 5 breaths and switch sides.

See also Prepare for Liftoff in Side Crow Pose

Knee to Opposite Arm

kathryn budig, side crow, parsva bakasana

Come into Downward-Facing Dog. Lift your right leg and shift your shoulders forward over the heels of your hands. Bend your right knee and draw it across your body toward your left arm. Aim for your elbow or if possible higher up your arm. Do your best to keep your right foot in line with your knee (the tendency is to drop the foot toward the ground). Hold for a few breaths and repeat 3 times per side.

See also Kathryn Budig Challenge Pose: Silly Crow

Revolved Chair Pose

kathryn budig, prayer twist, parivrtta uktasana

Parivrtta Utkatasana

Stand with your feet together. Bend your knees and sink your hips keeping the weight in your heels. Keep your pelvis neutral and chest upright. Draw your left elbow across the body to your right thigh. Join your palms together and press pointing your right elbow up. Take a peek at your knees to make sure they’re even (the left will often pop forward of the right, which throws off the balance in your lower back). Press your palms deeply trying to revolve your sternum toward your thumbs. Take 8 deep breaths then continue to the peak pose.

See also Kathryn Budig Challenge Pose: Baby Crow

Side Crow Pose

Kathryn Budig Side Crow, parsva bakasana

Parsva Bakasana

Let’s enter from the previous pose. Keep the twist, but release the palms. Bend your knees deeper and lean on a diagonal to place your palms down shoulder-width apart, fingers pointing away from you. If you’re struggling to twist deeply, you can use your right elbow as an extra shelf under your right hip. If the twist is deep, you can focus on solely balancing on your left arm. Once your palms are on the floor, bend your elbows toward a full Chaturanga as you lean forward. Your feet will get lighter and lighter until they can lift off the ground. Sweep your feet and shins parallel to the ground and round deeply in your upper back. Stay here, or work toward straight arms by rounding the back, keeping the legs tight, pressing into the ground, and leaning forward. Gaze forward and try for 5–8 breaths.

See also Kathryn Budig Challenge Pose: Funky Side Crow


Yoga teacher kathryn budig

Kathryn Budig is the yoga teacher behind AIM TRUE, a regular writer for Yoga Journal, and a presenter at Yoga Journal LIVE! Catch up with her @ and on:

Twitter: @kathrynbudig
Instagram: @kathrynbudig
Facebook: @kathrynbudigyoga