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Side Crow Pose (Parsva Bakasana)
With Dr Kiki Morriss
Side Crow builds strength and balance and requires concentration and determination, a challenging pose that needs patience to perfect
Side Crow Pose is a twisting variation of Crow Pose. It requires spinal flexibility, upper body strength, abdominal strength and good balance.
Start with Crow Pose and then progress to the more demanding Side Crow Pose. Enjoy the challenge of this pose and be patient with yourself.
The benefits of this pose:
- Strengthens your wrists, arms and shoulders.
- Strengthens your abdominal muscles.
- Increases spinal flexibility
- Improves your balance.
- Develops your concentration and determination.
- Do not practice the pose if you have a wrist, elbow, shoulder or back injury.
- Avoid the pose if you are pregnant.
- Start in Side Crow Pose. Bend your elbows. Carefully lower the crown of your head to the ground. Lift your legs into Tripod Headstand (Sirsana II). Then return to Side Crow Pose.
- Start in Side Crow Pose. Jump back to Four Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana).
FOCUS YOUR GAZE
- Your focal point (dristi) is a fixed point straight ahead of you. Gazing at one fixed point will help you to balance.
MOVING INTO THE POSE
- Bend down into a squatting position and place your hands in front of your feet, shoulder-width apart.
- Lift your heels and turn your legs and hips to the right.
- Squeeze your legs together.
- Keep your left thigh close to your right upper arm.
- Keep your head and chest and hands facing forwards.
- Bend your elbows.
- Turn your abdomen to the left.
- Lift your legs as high as you can towards your right shoulder.
- Take weight onto your hands and lift your feet off the ground.
- Balance your bent legs on your right upper arm.
- Extend your arms and keep your right arm slightly bent to support your legs.
FOCUS ON YOUR ARMS
- Keep your left arm strong as a counterbalance to the weight on your right arm.
FOCUS ON YOUR LEGS & FEET
- Keep your legs and feet tucked upwards.
- Flex your knees and squeeze your lower legs against your thighs.
- Use your adductor muscles on your inner thighs to squeeze your knees together.
- Use your tibialis anterior to dorsiflex your ankles and point your toes upwards.
MAINTAIN YOUR FOUNDATION
- Your hands are the foundation of this pose.
- Spread your fingers wide apart.
- Use your pronators teres and quadratus plus your flexors carpi radialis and ulnaris (wrist flexors) to pronate your forearms and press your palms into the ground.
- Use your triceps to straighten your elbows and lift your body upwards.
STABILISE YOUR LEGS
- Extend your knees by engaging your quadriceps.
ROTATE YOUR ABDOMEN
- Use your erector spinae and spinal rotators and oblique abdominals to twist your body
- Contract your abdomen and turn it to the left.
- Simultaneously take your legs to the right.
FOCUS ON YOUR UPPER BODY
- Use your serratus anterior and pectoralis minor to broaden across your upper back and to protract your shoulder blades away from the midline.
- Use these muscles and your pectoralis major to stabilise your shoulders.
- Keep your chest lifted.
WORKING WITH YOUR BREATH
- Breathe 5 times evenly in the pose.
COMING OUT OF THE POSE
- Lower your feet to the ground.
- Return to a squatting position.
- Repeat the pose on the left.