Strengthen your upper body, core, and more with Side Crow Pose…
Side Crow Pose (Parsva Bakasana) – sometimes also called Side Crane Pose – is a more advanced variation of Crow Pose. This intense arm balance pose is great for building core strength, and also strengthens the arms, shoulders, wrists, back, and legs. As an elevated twist, it is also thought to help with detoxification and digestion.
Side Crow pose takes focus, concentration, coordination, strength, and balance, so it is a great challenge for both body and mind! This pose is believed to help build self-confidence, mental focus, and the ability to stay calm in the face of stress.
Make sure you have mastered and are comfortable with regular Crow Pose before attempting this one. Also be sure you are thoroughly warmed up first. Sun Salutations and Chair Pose, as well as some twisting poses and hip openers will help you get warmed up and loosened up. Go slowly, and pay attention to your own body’s limits and abilities when attempting this pose.
Those who are pregnant, or who have recent or chronic wrist, shoulder, or back injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome should not practice this pose.
Here’s how to reap the many physical and mental benefits of Side Crow – according to YogaOutlet.com:
- Begin in Chair Pose (Utkatasana), squatting at the top of your mat with your knees and feet pressing together. Lower your hips so your thighs come parallel to the floor.
- Lower your arms and bring your palms together in prayer position at your chest.
- Exhaling, twist your torso to the right. Bring your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh.
- Shift your left hip back slightly, squaring off your hips once again to the top of your mat. Bring your knees into alignment.
- Press your upper left arm against your thigh and draw your right shoulder blade into your back to turn your chest to the right. This is Chair Pose Twist (Parivrtta Utkatasana).
- Sink your hips low to the mat, bending your knees deeply. Place both palms flat on the mat to the right of you, keeping your arms shoulder-width apart. You may need to come onto the balls of your feet to do this. Bring your left arm’s outer armpit as high as possible along the outside of your right thigh.
- Spread your fingers wide and press your weight evenly into both hands. Keep your elbows slightly bent. Begin to shift your body forward. Rest the outside of your right hip on the back of your right upper arm. Rest the outside of your right knee against the back of your left upper arm. Your right hip and knee should create a flat beam across the backs of both arms. Keep your knees together.
- Press down through your right hip and lift both feet off the floor. Work toward bringing your feet and legs parallel to the floor. Straighten your arms as much as possible.
- Raise your chest and head to look forward toward the horizon.
- Hold for up to 10 breaths. To release, gently lower your feet to the mat. Return to Chair Pose. Repeat Side Crow on the opposite side for the same length of time.
For some beginner tips for doing this challenging arm balance pose, see this article.