Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana)


I love a bargain, and this pose is the classic two for one. It's arm balance with a side of deep twist for free. From the twist, the body will enjoy the stimulation of the digestive system, massaging of the internal organs and engagement of the obliques. Most sports like running, cycling and weightlifting are all linear with little to no twisting. That's why I particularly love twists: they get us into a range we rarely find ourselves in. Being an arm balance, it improves strength in the shoulders, wrists, arms and core as well as forcing us to focus and learn how to balance. Lastly, many people find this move easier than Crow due to the legs being together, making it a great alternative to its traditional counterpart.

Common Mistakes

  • Not twisting enough: In order to balance effectively, you need to make yourself as small as possible.

  • Looking straight down: Your head is heavy. When we look straight down, the head pulls us straight down. Look ahead of the hands instead.

  • Forgetting about the legs: The head may be heavy, but the legs are four times heavier. Think about doing a hamstring curl to keep them close and situated over your balance point, your arms.


  • Start with your feet on a block to raise your hips higher, making the entry easier.

  • Place a bolster or cushion under your face if you're worried about falling forward.

  • Be patient and don’t jump. Lean forward until your legs get light and lift off. This will develop strength and control.


With all inversions we must stay focused in order to balance. This is great practice for inversions, but for life too. Stay in the present moment and listen to the feedback from your body, making small adjustments as needed. This pose also highlights how versatile the body is. Become aware of how the body’s individual parts can work together to keep you balanced and safe, even when supported by only your arms.

Follow Douglas Robson on Instagram: @thedownwarddoug

Side Crow - Douglas Robson

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