Challenge your balance and body awareness with this yoga pose.
It’s easy to get lost in our daily schedules; responsibilities and routines take up much of our time and days can go by without any sense of “newness.” But our workouts and training can give us a chance to explore and find ourselves doing something new and exciting. Let’s try out a new skill today!
The crow pose from yoga (and gymnastic training) is a fun exercise to try, and practicing it brings along a host of benefits: improved strength in the wrists and upper body, learning to breathe in difficult positions and more balance and awareness of your body.
Get stronger while learning
Like many body-weight skills, a good level of strength in your upper body and core will make it easier to advance with the crow. But simply practicing the crow also builds this strength as well, especially when you approach it mindfully and with progressive training, just as we’ll share and teach you in this post.
The crow is certainly not what you’d think of as a “traditional” core exercise, but the core is a vital part of keeping you balanced and stable. You might be surprised by how much you feel your core contracting to keep you steady.
Of course, you should work up to the full crow pose gradually and carefully, because it can place quite a bit of strain on the wrists. The flip side of that is the more you practice, the stronger and more mobile your wrists will become. As you get better, you’ll not only be putting more and more pressure through the hands and wrists, but you’ll also be putting more weight through your shoulders, which will strengthen them.
Practice the crow consistently as recommended and you’ll see great improvements in your wrist mobility and strength, and how strong your shoulders and core feel.
Gain better body awareness
Body awareness is an interesting thing, and likely not in the forefront of our minds when we workout. Strength, muscle building and fat loss are more obvious reasons to work on your fitness. But learning more about how our bodies move and respond helps you do everything better. It teaches you how to conserve energy and what areas of your body need more attention.
In any balancing exercise, you’ll automatically be working on your body awareness and understanding of where you are in space. The crow is no different.
As you practice the crow and get better at it, you’ll learn to pay attention to the small details that help you balance better, and this carries over to your balance in other areas. Whether it’s lugging your groceries around while stepping over things, or your weekly pick up games in soccer or basketball, more body awareness is a good thing.
Practicing the crow is a good way to almost “force” yourself into awareness and introspection.
You’ll also learn the importance of breathing evenly and steadily as you balance yourself. Learning to breathe properly is a skill you can apply to any movement or activity, so spending time learning that with the crow will help you in the long run for any activity you love.
Crow pose technique: a step-by-step tutorial
It’s important to understand the fine details of this movement to reduce frustration and be successful. In this video, I’ll show you the step-by-step process to make it happen.
If you’ve never practiced the crow pose before, I recommend starting with the first step and going from there. Work on holding each step for a good amount of time (about a minute will suffice) before moving on to the next step.
Measure your work in two ways:
- Keep track of the amount of time you can hold each attempt to see your hold progress.
- Set a timer for a certain amount of time (e.g., 30 seconds) and practice as many attempts as you can until the timer goes off. When the timer goes off, take a break and then repeat again for additional sets, as tolerated.
When you first try this, you’ll either get the move right away or you’ll start to discover what is holding you back from achieving it.
After you practice a bit, and hopefully have fun with it, I bet you’ll want to try some other new skills! And luckily there’s room for a lot more exploration of this great balancing exercise.
The crane is a lot like the crow, except your arms are straight. This puts a lot more pressure through the wrists, so it’s a good idea to get comfortable with the crow before moving on to the crane. Work steadily on your arm and core strength and you’ll be well on your way to the crane pose.
And if you are interested in doing more hand balance work, check out our past column here and you’ll have everything you need to get started and achieve this fun skill.
Find yourself and get better in a new practice
As you can see, there’s a lot more to the crow pose than just being some fancy yoga move. Practicing this skill will help you get stronger and more aware of your body’s capabilities, and that will help you in everything you want to do!
Photo credit (top to bottom): Maridav, Adobe Stock; Courtesy of GMB