Bakasana is made up of two Sanskrit words: baka which means lift or crane, and asana which means posture. Bakasana is very similar to the crow’s pose (Kakasana).
A DEEPER INSIGHT
The pose belongs to the group of lower balances.
This is a pose of inversion, but it is also a pose of strengthening and allows one to develop a better sense of balance.
Bakasana is often confused with the crow pose, both by practitioners and by instructors. This confusion occurs mainly due to the fact that both poses are very similar.
However, the crow pose, above all, has a different name which is Kakasana. But the crow pose itself is less demanding compared to Bakasana.
The main difference between these two similar poses is that the arms in the crow pose are bent at the elbows, while the arms in Bakasana are fully straightened.
In any case, both poses are balance poses and require some flexibility. But Bakasana is a more demanding pose because it requires a well-developed upper body. That being said, we don’t advise you to start practicing the crane pose first; start from the crow. Once you master this pose, you can easily move on to Bakasana or the crane pose.
During the performance of this asana, the activation of the solar plexus—more precisely, the Manipura chakra—occurs.
The element that is associated with this pose is fire. The name of this Bakasana refers to a story from the famous Mahabharata epic.
The first thing to keep in mind when practicing this asana is that it requires your shoulders and wrists to have the necessary flexibility and strength.
Accordingly, it is very important to warm up your wrists and shoulders well and to gently stretch the tendons in your hands. Be fully present when warming up your wrists and shoulders. We advise you to do a few micro-movements for both wrists and shoulders.
In addition to micro-movements, we recommend that you do several different shoulder push-ups for your shoulders. By doing so, you will develop strength in the upper part of your body faster which is very important if you want to perform this pose completely correct.
As for entering the pose itself, you can start from the forward bending down (Uttanasana) pose. You can definitely stay in the same position for at least ten breaths. Your arms and legs are fully extended, and your feet are together (heel to heel). The palms are firmly on the yoga mat, and the fingers of the hands are spread completely to the side. This way, you achieve the best foundation. The hands are positioned at the width of your shoulders.
From this pose, you can slowly move into the crow’s pose first. Since the crow pose is an easier pose compared to Bakasana, it represents a transitional pose in this case.
If you haven’t even practiced the crow’s pose before, enter it by bending your arms at the elbows. After that, try to place your knees on your triceps or in your armpits. From the original pose of Uttanasana, lower your hips but they must not be too low; they must not be lowered below the height of your shoulders. When you practice the crow pose, your back is slightly arched in the upper part.
After achieving good support as far as your shoulders and the position of your hips are concerned, shift all the weight of your feet onto your toes by lifting your heels. Also, try to lift your hips as much as possible; this is also one of the differences between the crow and the crane pose. If you have done the weight transfer correctly, your current support is your palms and toes, and your hips are fully lifted. You can stay in this pose for ten breaths if you can.
The next part is lifting one foot first and becoming aware of your balance when one foot is lifted. If you feel safe, lift your other foot from the yoga mat. If you raised both feet, you can try to bring the big toes together. This joining of the big toes is primarily important because the so-called center of gravity is established. With the feet being separated, there are two axes of gravity; with your feet lifted together, those two axes of gravity become one. This is why it is much easier to stay in this pose when your toes are together.
The last part is basically getting into the exact pose of the crane from Bakasana. Try to fully extend your arms. If you succeed in it, you managed to make a very nice transition from the crow pose to the crane pose.
Keep in mind that there are also certain variations as far as the crane pose is concerned. The basic variation is to use blocks if you see that they can be useful to you.
In that case, the blocks are placed in several different positions, all depending on which part of your body “squeaks”. The blocks can support not only your palms but also your feet.
In case you still don’t have enough strength in the shoulder area, use blocks as a support under your palms.
On the other hand, if your hips are too low, use blocks under your feet to lift your hips.
BENEFITS OF PRACTICING BAKASANA
In addition to developing your sense of balance, the crane pose is great for developing your upper-body strength. You also achieve better flexibility in the wrist and shoulder joints.
There is a fine opening of the hips and strengthening of the gluteal muscles. Your endurance increases just by practicing this pose.
If your breathing is even while performing this pose, you will establish a perfect balance between your mind and body.
Since it is an inverted pose, it affects the better functioning of your entire digestive system.
If you still find Bakasana challenging, don’t hesitate to practice the crow pose for a while.
The gaze while practicing Bakasana can be directed at the tip of the nose. You can also find one point of focus in front of you, one meter or one and a half meters away.
Watch your breathing and try to make it even. Don’t tighten your face or make any grimaces. A common case for people who are just starting to practice the hand balance poses is that they tighten their facial muscles. This is definitely a mistake, considering that all the tightening that happens on the face affects our entire body on a microlevel. Because of that, try to keep your face completely relaxed. In this way, it will be much easier to perform not only Bakasana but any hand balance poses.