This is an asana that stymied me for years. When I looked at its shape, I saw in my mind how it could be possible, but in my body it remained mysterious, unavailable, and admittedly, frustrating at times, too! The lifting of one leg up and back from Crow pose is certainly a transition that requires great strength in the entire body, but I found this posture’s mystery unlock slightly once I applied the crucial shift forward that makes Crow (or technically “Crane” Bakasana) possible. Continue to build strength through regular, aware practice with precise alignment as well as commit to the practice of trusting in yourself and your endless possibilities!
There are many entrances and exits in regard to this posture, and Crow pose has a flock of variations. For the purposes of this article we will focus on the standard and foundational transition from Crow (Bakasana) into the lifting and extending of one leg for our transition into EPB.
If you practice straightening your arms with your knees as high up your arms as possible in Bakasana, once you’re ready to make the transition to EPB, bend your elbows like Chaturanga. It is possible to practice EPB with straighter arms, but it is most accessible to begin with the upper arms acting as a shelf.
Now comes the all-important shift forward. And I mean shiiiift. Lean your sternum forward, but continue to keep the shoulder blades firming down the spine away from the ears.
Trust in yourself. Even in you fall, or it “doesn’t happen,” keep trusting in where you are going and growing.
Practice shifting slight amounts of weight from leg to leg, and imagine as one leg gets lighter lifting it up and extending it back.
Once you are ready to do that, you must keep your heart going forward, otherwise the leg will most likely fall heavily down to the ground.
Hug your arms isometrically toward each other like they are hugging a beach ball. If the arms disintegrate from their alignment, it will be much harder to support your weight.
Keep your “Crow” leg VERY active by squeezing the heel high toward the bum, like you are tightly pinching a marble behind your knee.
Extend your top leg up AND back, pressing it away from your body with all the vim, vigor, enthusiasm, caffeination, and gusto you can muster. Seriously. Imagine your top leg strung with Christmas lights and make it BRIGHT! Spread all 10 toes.
Continue to gaze forward.
Expect intensity. If you are experiencing sensations of effort that make you immensely aware of all the muscle fibers in your body, please take comfort in knowing that you are not doing it wrong. Even this, with practice, will become less strenuous (but I daresay never a cakewalk.)
Either draw the top leg back in mindfully, which will require your heart and shoulders to still continue shifting forward, and repeat the opposite side immediately, or vinyasa through and practice the second side when you’re physically and mentally ready!
Courtesy of: Hanna Riley Bala Vinyasa Yoga Naples