Arm Balancing Pose

ARM BALANCING POSES

Why Arm Balancing is Important?

Arm balancing poses play a key role in your daily yoga practice, Your arms act as supporting pillars for your whole body while performing many inversion and balancing asanas, Hence the inclusion of Arm balancing poses in your yoga sequence will take you a long way in terms of progressing yourself into an intermediate/advanced level practitioner.

Arm balancing poses strengthens your arms and shoulders and tones up the whole of upper body which enables your body to go on with other tough poses.

A beginner level arm balancing pose contributes in bringing mental confidence and boosts your positive attitude, increases focus and concentration.

What are some of the Arm balancing poses in Yoga?

 More than muscular strength Arm balancing pose require coordination and focus on breathing, below are a few Arm balancing poses

  • Crow Pose/ Crane Pose
  • Eight Angle Pose
  • Firefly Pose
  • Peacock Pose
  • Plank Pose

CROW POSE/ CRANE POSE

KAKASANA/BAKASANA

Kakasana – “Kaka” means crow in Sanskrit ,“Asana” means Posture and  “Baka”  means Crane . Kakasana/Bakasana is from Hatha yoga tradition.

Beliefs and cultural Stories of Crows

Different cultures believe Crow as a spiritual animal which is an embodiment of  adaptability, team work, psychic abilities and transformation.

Remember the school days story where the thirsty crow had the determination and intelligence to collect stones and drop those in to the half-filled pot so the water would come up for the crow to drink it, the fictional story from my grandma where a crow steals Vada (Fried Indian snack) from an old lady and the crow goes on to  sing holding the Vada under its feet when a cunning fox asks the crow to sing thinking the Vada might fall down from crow’s beak, Can you see the witty sense?

Crows have an incredible craftsman ability when it comes to building the nest using the branches they have carefully secured . Ever wondered where did this smartness come from, Well, these birds are gifted with such abilities or qualities by nature. 

In Hinduism, Crows are seen as a helpful and are considered to be messengers or gods and demised elders or ancestors, Some people to this date have the practice to feed the crows before their day’s first meal and they also strongly believe that crows carry the soul of their ancestors or recently deceased family members.

In Buddhism, crows are believed to be their deity Mahakal the protector of wisdom

What is the role of Crow Pose in Yoga?

This  pose micmics the appearance of crow the hands pushing against the mat/ground  become the leg of the crow and the feet together form the shape of crow’wings and hence this is Kakasana.

Crow Pose (Kakasana) & Crane Pose (Bakasana) are arm balancing poses and are similar on a rough look but one key change between these poses is, In Bakasana the elbows are kept straight whereas in kakasana elbows are bent.

In these poses your arms and legs are strengthened, your abdominal muscles are contracted and muscles supporting your spinal cord are toned and improve overall flexibility of body. These poses also works on your forearm muscles, fingers, wrist, elbow and knee joints

What is the Level of Pose?

 Intermediate to Advanced

What are Preparatory poses?

Below beginner poses a

  • Dolphin pose/catur Svanasana, 
  • Downward dog/Urdhvamukha Svanasana
  • Mountain Pose/Parvatasana.
  • Plank pose/Khumbakasana

How do I get into Kakasana/ Crow pose?

1. Start with sitting in Malasana/Garland pose having your knees wide open

2. Place your hands down and press your fingers against the mat and slightly bend your elbow and find a strong grip

3. Lean forward and place the knees against the arms and move your body forward while your toes are still on the mat 

4. Lift your toes off the mat and move your whole body weight on to the arms by gently lifting your buttocks up

5. Lift your head and lengthen your neck and look to fix a gaze point, once you are stable here, move the feet closer to each other so the toes touch 

 6.  Hold in the posture for 5 to 15 breaths

 7. To exit this pose, slowly move the feet down and get back to Malasana/Garland pose and release your hands and normalise your breath

Relax in Advasana/ Balasana post exiting from Kakasana

Bakasana/Crane Pose

Follow the same  as described in Kakasana except in step 2 do not bend the elbows and in step 3 tuck the knees towards underarms.

Benefits of Bakasana/Kakasana

  1. Strengthen your wrists, arms, abdomen and shoulders
  2. Creates a physical balance and coordination
  3. Strengthens core 
  4. Increases focus and concentration
  5. The gaze point focus after reaching the final pose helps in bringing your whole awareness to the present moment and aids in meditation.
  6. Balances nervous system

Contra-indications

People with shoulder or wrist injuries, any heart diseases , cerebral thrombosis, carpel tunnel syndrome, sciatica pain and slip disc should avoid doing this pose.

Chakras

 The below chakras are stimulated during the practice or Kakasana  on the front of Kundalini.

  • Solar Plexus (or)  Manipura or Navel Chakra
  • Third eye (or) Ajna Chakra
  • Crown (or) Sahasrara Chakra
  • Throat (or) Vishuddhi Chakra
  • Root (or) Muladhara Chakra

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