A yoga sequence including essential poses and exercises to prep you for Crow Pose or #Bakasana. Practicing these steps will help you build up core strength, stretch the upper back and achieve flexion you need to get into the crow-like shape of Bakasana.
1. MALASANA, or garland pose: stretches the ankles, groins and back. Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
2. DOWNWARD-FACING DOG: stretches the hamstrings and calves. If your heels don’t touch the mat it’s okay! You can always modify by bending the knees and keeping the heels slightly raised. Hold for 1-2 minutes.
3. KNEE TO NOSE: squeeze the lower belly tight to activate your core. Keep repeating with alternating legs until your lower abs burn and you can’t handle it anymore. 💪🏼 Make sure you keep breathing deeply through any tension you might have.
4. CHATURANGA: keep your body parallel to the ground, with elbows at a right angle. Holding this for 1 minute will be enough to build up strength in the arms.
5. DOLPHIN POSE: similar to Downward Dog, stretches the shoulders, arms, upper back, and legs. You can place a block underneath your heels to modify. Hold for 1-2 minutes.
6. BABY CROW POSE: will help you warm up your spine for the full Crow pose. Come into Malasana for this, place your hands in front of you, bend your elbows and place your forearms parallel down on the mat. Lift your hips up slightly and begin to hug your knees around your upper outer arms. Find the action of squeezing your legs in toward the midline of your body. Shift your weight forward and keep your gaze just ahead of your fingertips. Leading with the heart, begin to round through your upper back and come up onto the tips of your toes. If comfortable, lift the toes.
7. CAT POSE: a few cat/cow sequences can be done here to keep warming up the spine. Go through at least 5 sets.
8. HANDS TO FLOOR: a gentle hamstring stretch. You can do a standing forward bend if you want. Hold for 1-2 minutes.
9. KNEES TO ARM: start by perching yourself up on a block. This brings the floor closer to your triceps makes it easier get your knees up there. Make sure you hands are about shoulder-width apart with the fingers spread wide. Lift the hips way up and bend the knees.
10. LIFT ONE LEG: gently press the knees in to the backs of the triceps and begin to shift your weight into the fingertips, picking one foot at a time off the floor. Bend the elbows if necessary for balance.
11. LIFT BOTH LEGS: after lifting one foot gets comfortable, practice lifting both legs. Stay as light in the feet as possible as you prepare to lift off, avoiding dropping weight into your backside.
12. STRAIGHTEN ARMS: Use the core to draw the navel in toward the spine to stabilize and find that “lift” in the center of the body that eventually allows you to straighten the elbows and hold. Be sure to bring your gaze just between the hands to maintain balance. Once you’ve mastered the pose from the block, try the same one foot at a time approach without the block.
This pose is super compact and if you can’t quite get into it, then feel free to do regular Crow pose! If you are having a hard time getting into this balance, you can put something cushy in front of your face so you worry less about face planting. You can modify this pose by simply squatting down into preparation for Crow, or by taking just one leg up at a time.
A new experience for me was camping in Thailand! It was a blast and I had so much fun with my kids but I think I will be tired for the next two weeks.