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Side Crow Tutorial and Variations {Video + Yoga Post}

A few weeks ago I posted a tutorial on the yoga arm balance crow (bakasana) along with variations. When I asked what yoga pose you wanted me to feature today, the Facebook vote was for side crow. This is a nice progression from crow so I am happy to oblige.

Some of you may look at this and think no way but I actually think that side crow is easier than crow. The key is finding a deep twist so that you can get your tricep over onto your thigh…without this it is impossible to even begin to get into the pose. A prep for side crow would be to warm up with some deep twisting so that you can get that range of motion to get the tricep over the thigh. Once you’re in position you simply lean forward, bend your elbows and squeeze them in like chaturanga and then take flight.

It’s really important to engage your entire body when you’re in arm balances. If you’re all loose you it’s going to feel like you weigh a ton and you won’t be able to support your bodyweight. When you engage, squeeze and set your intention on feeling upward lift, arm balances will become much more accessible.

My favorite variation of side crow is to split the legs. In the video I walk you through how to make this happen and how to get into it from eagle pose. You have to kick the legs away from each other but keep squeezing and lifting. Notice how firmly my thigh is resting on my tricep…this is critical.

And here is the video tutorial…

Remember, this probably isn’t going to happen the first time you try it…or maybe not even the fiftieth but that’s the fun of yoga. There is always somewhere new to take your body and your practice. I always encourage people to take the steps to even begin to try to get into these arm balances. Everyone can at least practice chair pose with a twist, placing hands on the floor and beginning to lean over…even if you’re not ready to lift the feet. And then just go for it – you don’t have far to fall if it’s a no go. I’ve had many face plants while working on this stuff! 😉

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • 1
    She Rocks Fitness April 22, 2013, 8:11 pm

    Great tutorial! My tight little running hamstrings don’t allow my legs to go that straight in side crow, but it is a work in progress, just like most yoga poses. Right? HA! Thanks for sharing and going to tweet about it. Hope you had a fabulous Monday!

  • 2
    Emily April 22, 2013, 8:30 pm

    Love your yoga tutorials! Please keep them coming… maybe one on headstands??

  • 3
    jennyv April 22, 2013, 8:33 pm

    Oh my word — I would love to be able to do this. However, I still cannot commit to yoga as I’ve never found a class that my running body loves.

    Fantastic tutorial! (I even showed my husband!)

  • 4
    Clara April 22, 2013, 8:44 pm

    Girl- you amaze me! I’ve never seen such a good tutorial on these poses!! xx

  • 5
    zoey April 22, 2013, 9:37 pm

    Yes, yes! you are beyond awesome. Love, love, love the tutorials.

    Tri-pod head stand next time….please. please. pretty pleeeeeezzz…..

  • 6
    Patti Smith April 22, 2013, 9:38 pm

    Wow! You’ve inspired me! I’ve been contemplating taking up yoga to make me a stronger runner. I may never be able to do the side crow but the amount of strength you must have developed in order to do that is exactly what I’m looking for…that control. Thanks for the tutorial!!

  • 7
    Addy @ Six-Kick Switch April 22, 2013, 10:15 pm

    So cool! Thanks for the tutorial, Jen. I’ve got the side crow down, but I’d love to work on your split-leg variation.

  • 8
    Maggie April 22, 2013, 10:35 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial on this. using your cuing got me a lot closer to getting into side crow than I have gotten before! I suck at arm balances but they are fun to try! Maybe you could add forearm stand to your list of videos to make? I really want to be able to do forearm scorpion someday!

  • 9
    Pam April 23, 2013, 7:53 am

    I’ve been working on this pose. The fun is truly in the journey!
    Thank you for the easy to understand instruction.

  • 10
    Erica April 23, 2013, 8:42 am

    Very informative video! Great pose! I obviously need to increase my practice 🙂

  • 11
    tori April 23, 2013, 10:08 am

    Your arms are so fabulous!

  • 12
    Tiff @ Love, Sweat, & Beers April 23, 2013, 3:24 pm

    Ahhhhh! Crow is so hard for me! I haven’t attempted side crow yet, so perhaps I’ll give that a shot during my next practice.

  • 13
    kristi April 23, 2013, 5:18 pm

    love these tutorials!!! keep em coming!

  • 14
    Amber April 23, 2013, 6:42 pm

    Love these videos! I am not very bendy or twisty (I think maybe from tight shoulders?) so I’m not here yet but your crow tutorial REALLY helped me with crow!

    I would love for you to do a tutorial on binds. I cannot for the life of me get into a bind from side angle and so many people seem to do it so effortlessly. Not sure if it’s my alignment, tight shoulders/chest (I have super tight chest muscles) or both!

  • 15
    Logan Stewart April 24, 2013, 6:08 pm

    thanks for this!! I can get Mountain climber on the left side but not the right. Is that weird? I have no idea why. You don’t have a tutorial on that do you?

  • 16
    Lauren K April 26, 2013, 3:22 pm

    Shoot, you are so graceful and good at yoga! Love these tutorials…now I just need to practice these things if I can manage to remember all the tips/tricks!

  • 17
    Megan@eatmybeets May 21, 2013, 4:20 pm

    All your yoga posts make me want to find a really good, challenging class. It’s been a while since I’ve been in one- Hatha Yoga is the only thing offered at my YMCA at the time slot I need it in, plus I’ve gotten to know everyone in the class (which will be my fitness downfall haha). That begin said, you’ve inspired me to find a second class to take in the evenings.

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