Crow Pose for Beginners – Take Flight in Kakasana

It took me 8 months to learn crow pose and now that I can do it, I realize that I could have done it a lot earlier, I just didn’t understand it. If you have read any of my other posts, you will know that I always stress the importance of understanding a pose. Overthinking is such a common problem and yoga helps us to overcome overthinking (on and off the mat).

When you see someone in crow pose, it might look easy(or not) but as soon as you try to do it, you have no idea how it is even possible. There are two asanas: crow and crane, many times they are considered one pose and in most yoga classes they will not differentiate between the two. Crow is considered an arm-balancing pose, while crane is considered an inversion. Let’s look at crow pose for beginners, or rather crane pose (Bakasana) for beginners:

Kakasana vs Bakasana

As I explained, Crow is an arm balance and Crane is an inversion, meaning that the muscular engagement is different.

The Crane – Bakasana

A crane is considered a graceful, majestic and patient bird, he waits (head down) for his prey to come to him.

So mimicking the crane, look down, place your knees on the back of your triceps, almost in your armpits. Hips are lifted high and you work towards straightening your arms.

When attempting this pose, you need to have very strong triceps in order to straighten your arms. Awareness of the muscle located under the arms on the side body called the ‘serratus anterior’, will enable you to stabilize your shoulders as well as straighten your arms. Some hip flexibility is also necessary, in order to bring the knees that high up and of course core strength will enable you to stabilize and balance.

Even though this is considered a beginner’s inversion pose, it is quite challenging and takes a lot of practice for some. It took me a long time to do this asana as I struggled with upper body and core strength.

The crow – Kakasana

Different to a crane, crows spend a lot of their time flying and looking for prey. Instead of looking directly down, they gaze forward.

In crow pose we keep our hips low and gaze forward instead of down, mimicking the crow. In this asana the knees move to the outside of the triceps(to look like wings), while the inner thighs squeeze against the outer arms, you aim to keep your hips parallel to the floor and your upper body quite close to the floor. In this pose your arms are bent with your elbows above your wrists – the same as in chaturanga. This asana relies on the relationship between the biceps, triceps and inner thighs as well as core strength. This pose is not an inversion, but an arm balancing pose.

Next time someone instructs crow, they may very well mean crane pose – not knowing that they are in fact two different asanas. So make sure you know which one they really mean.

The Inversion Excursion

So in fact, we are going to attempt crane pose and not crow as the title suggests. This might be your first attempt to do an inversion and it may or may not be intimidating to you. I find inversions quite scary and it has been a long mental battle for me. If this is unlike you – that is great! You may find it quite easy, but if you are like me and find inversions scary, don’t worry! Crane pose is a great pose for a first inversion and definitely less of a risk than headstand for example.

The benefits of inversions

– Improves circulation of oxygen and blood to the brain which results in a clear mind and a more energized body.

– Stimulates the Endocrine and Nervous Systems which controls growth and development.

– Improves core strength, stability and balance.

– Stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps with detoxifying the body.

– Inversions are humbling but can also help you to build confidence.

Start Flying

I’ve been practicing yoga for 9 months now and even though I practice at least five days a week, I didn’t focus on inversions that much. In the past I didn’t feel the need for them, but I have reached a point in my practice, where I would like to focus on them now. I found a fantastic 7-day challenge to master the crow(crane) pose. More about this in my next post.

If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with others. I would love to hear from you, so if you have any thoughts or questions, don’t hesitate to connect. Leave a comment down below.


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14 thoughts on “Crow Pose for Beginners – Take Flight in Kakasana

  1. Excellent information on the Crow pose, and the Crane pose, and the differences between the two. I have been meaning to begin yoga classes. I studied Ayurvedic practices, and would be a perfect compliment in my quest to achieve dynamic equilibrium. So many benefits including physical, mental, and emotional. Thank you for sharing, Tom

    1. Hi Tom, Thank for your comment. If you are into Ayurvedic practices, you should definitely give it a go. My focus is on the beginner yoga practitioner, so I believe it could be of great help. My posts: Beginner Yoga Exercises and Beginner Yoga at Home has some very easy poses you can try at home.
      Let me know what you think.

  2. Be honestly doing Yoga looks so difficult, I totally have no experience of it.
    But your post mentioned so many benefits on the body, probably I’ll give it a try sometime!
    Thanks for the helpful information!

    1. Hi Charles, Yoga has this stigma that it only consists of difficult poses and that you have to be a special person to be able to do it. This is simply not true! You can start with some very basic poses, something accessible and you never have to do headstands or poses you don’t feel comfortable with. That’s why my website is called Yougathis. It is about You! If you want some very basic beginners poses, check out posts like: Simple Yoga Poses for Beginners – To Stretch and Strengthen, Beginner Yoga at Home – Free for All or Beginner Yoga Exercises – Greeting the Sun
      Let me know how it goes or if you have any questions.
      Thank you for your comment

  3. How informative… I love how you explained the ” crow” and ” crane” yoga positions. I exercise five days a week but I am considering adding yoga into my routine. I think I would try to do the crow pose first. I also like that you explained the benefits the inversion method offered. As we get older I think it is important that we keep our bodies in the best shape possible to ensure healthy and happy lives. I will be incorporating these poses. I think it is a great start and I can’t wait to try them. Thank you for this awesome post.

    1. Hi Doris! Thank you for your lovely comment. Yoga can be a great supplement to an already healthy body! And like you said, it is very important to keep our bodies in the best shape possible. I have a few posts about exercises you can try at home, a great place when you get started with yoga. Simple Yoga Poses for Beginners – To Stretch and Strengthen, Beginner Yoga at Home – Free for All and my favorite Beginner Yoga Exercises – Greeting the Sun.
      Let me know if you tried some and how it went.

  4. Hi Daisy,
    Wow, these look very advanced but I can certainly see the benefit in doing them.
    I shall have to get in a lot of practice with easier poses before tackling these but will certainly give them a try.

    1. Hi Jill!
      These are definitely not for complete beginners. If you would like to reap the benefits of inversions but are not ready to try them, you can do a simple restorative pose called Legs Up the Wall Pose (or Viparita Karani). You just lie on your back, your legs forming a 90 degree angle with your upper body, up the wall. Strength is a very important part in inversions and you could do exercises from Simple Yoga Poses for Beginners – To Stretch and Strengthen to improve.
      Let me know how it goes!

  5. I am tempted to give inversion a try, but kind of scared. Is this dangerous if I have never practice yoga before, nor try anything like this?

    I believe in the benefits described by you for practicing inversions, but the challenge now is to overcome my fear to get it started. Any tips to overcome such fears?

    1. Hi Jeffrey! Inversions can be scary. A lot of it is just in our heads, but there can be some risks and I would not necessarily recommend crow/crane pose to an absolute beginner. If you would like to experience some of the many benefits of inversions, you could try Legs Up the Wall Pose (or Viparita Karani). You just lie on your back, your legs forming a 90 degree angle with your upper body, up the wall. You can stay in this pose for several minutes, it is a restorative inversion.
      If you are set on the crane/crow pose, you can try it out with blocks and/or blankets for support, make sure to do good wrist warmers. I suggest you check out 7 Day Crow Pose Challenge – Are You Ready to Take Flight? and go from there.
      Let me know if there is anything else you would like to know.

  6. HI
    Thanks for the great descriptions of the crow and crane poses. For me they seem a little difficult. LOL I have practiced yoga in the past and I really should get back to it. I find both the physical and mental aspects of yoga to be very helpful. The kind of yoga I practiced was Kundalini.
    I sure appreciate the awesome information about these particular poses. Best wishes to you and take good care.

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