6 Prep Poses for Kakasana & Bakasana (Crow & Crane Pose)
Crow vs. Crane
The names ‘Basakana’ (Crane) and ‘Kakasana’ (Crow) are used interchangeably in yoga and it can get a bit confusing about which one is which. Generally the bent arm, more easily accessible version is Kakasana (Crow), and the straight arm version is Bakasana (Crane). To make it easy, I’ll refer to both poses as Bakasana in this article.
Bakasana is most likely the first arm balance you will be introduced to in yoga. It requires a considerable amount of strength, coordination and control, and feeling yourself lift and balance for the first time is super exciting.
The benefits of Bakasana for climbers are extensive and include:
- strengthening the arms, wrists, upper back, shoulders, abdominals, pelvic floor, hip flexes, inner legs and hamstrings.
- strengthening your shoulder stabilising muscles (reducing the risk of climbing-related shoulder injuries)
- improving core strength and body tension, and
- tuning into body positioning and balance.
Bakasana is quite a challenging pose and being able to balance with control and ease require the body to be warmed up and prepared. Here are 6 poses you can use to prepare for Bakasana.
Wrist Warm Ups
Sit back on your heels with your hands on the floor in front of you, fingers facing backwards. Roll up onto the tips of your fingers and back down again, feeling a nice stretch through the wrists and back of your forearms. Repeat as many times as you like.
Wrist Warm Ups
Table Top Position
Come to ‘all fours’ on your mat: hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Rotate your upper arms, seeing your inner elbow crease rotate forward until it ‘points’ in a direction between your thumb and first finger. This sets your shoulders is a stable position. Press through the base of your thumb and first finger. Activate three points of lift by pulling in your belly, lower ribs and collar bones towards your spine. Keep you head and neck inline with your spine.
From table top position, isolate just your upper chest and drop it towards the floor as you inhale. As you exhale press your hands into the floor and round through your upper back, pullin in your lower ribs and lower belly. Broaden across the back of your shoulders, beep your pelvis in a neutral position. Repeat 5 times or more/less according to what you need.
High Plank with Upper Back Press
From table top position, step your left leg back and right leg back, coming into a plank position. ‘Point’ your tailbone towards your heels. Keep lifting the belly, lower ribs, and collarbones. Now feel yourself mimicking the pressing sensation form the previous pose, allowing your shoulder blades to broaden across your back.
Awesome! You’re now ready to give Bakasana your best shot. Head over to this article for tips to shift into Kakasana and progress into the straight-armed Bakasana.
–– Enjoy the process!