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Tips for Getting into Crow Pose (Bakasana) and Advanced Variations

I haven’t done a yoga Monday post in a few weeks but I have one for you today covering a common request…tips for getting into the arm balance crow or bakasana. A lot of people think they aren’t strong enough to do crow but it’s not just about upper body strength but core engagement and technique as well.

copyright wanda koch photography

Here are my top tips for tackling crow:

– BE CONFIDENT! The worst that will happen is that you will topple over a few inches and faceplant. Remember, tuck and roll! 😉
– Knees way up on triceps like you’re trying to get them into your armpits
– Elbows squeezed in tightly, think chaturanga arms
– Weight in the palms and grip into fingertips
– TONS of upward lift through the belly, booty and heels
– As you keep pulling everything up and in, work to straighten the arms as much as possible

In the video below I walk you through all the steps to properly getting into crow and also a trick I like to use with a block as a prop to help you get into the correct set position. I have also included two advanced variations for those of you who can easily perform crow – crow to tripod handstand and crow to chaturanga.

Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions!

{ 34 comments… add one }
  • jennyv March 18, 2013, 9:51 pm

    Wow! Such great body awareness/control. These are the types of videos that make me want to commit to a studio and start practicing.

  • Addy @ Six-Kick Switch March 18, 2013, 9:52 pm

    Ah, you make it look so easy! I have my crow down, but would love to take it further. Thank you for the advanced variations – great video!

  • Holly March 18, 2013, 9:58 pm

    Awesome. Thanks for sharing! I have done crow one time that I would call “official.” I wish more instructors would give time to practice it or variations in class. Almost always they are like “do crow” and give us about 20 seconds. Everyone who knows it does it. I am barely getting ready and then it’s time to move on. Yet they spend 20 minutes on handstand! How am I going to do that when I don’t have crow down pat?! Haha.

    I loved watching the variations as well. Impressive you can talk and do that at the same time. 🙂

  • Amber March 18, 2013, 10:21 pm

    The ONLY way I can get into crow is by doing the block trick. Now that I’m used to doing it that way I’m trying to figure out how to transition the block out of my pose but can’t get into it without the block! I think it’s a mental thing…

    This was an awesome video! You have such a beautiful and controlled practice!

  • Pamela March 18, 2013, 10:29 pm

    Beautiful! Thank you Jen!!

  • Bess @ Bess Be Fit March 18, 2013, 10:39 pm

    I’ve been working on going from crow back to chaturanga but I’m just not there yet! So much harder than it looks. thanks for the video!

  • Ja @ Athlete Within Ja March 18, 2013, 11:15 pm

    Oh wow! Thanks for this. I’m so afraid of getting a faceplant, lol!

  • Babs March 19, 2013, 12:28 am

    Love the video. As a complete yoga novice, it’s really helpful to see things broken down.

  • Julie March 19, 2013, 12:33 am

    I try this but my legs start sliding on my triceps.

  • Tara | Treble in the Kitchen March 19, 2013, 5:13 am

    Thanks for the tips!!! In my yoga class this past Friday, we were attempting Crow, and I simply cannot do it yet. I love that the first thing that you suggest is confidence, because I am convinced that I am unable to complete this post because I don’t trust myself. Thank you for the tips…I am going to keep on trying…and try to trust my body 🙂

  • Jess March 19, 2013, 6:36 am

    Crow is just one of those poses that I have never been able to get right. No-one has ever mentioned exactly how far up my arms my knees should be though – I’m one of those people that has their knees on their elbows as opposed to their triceps and, as you said, my legs just slip straight off my arms. I’m excited to try crow pose now that I know I should be aiming for my armpits as opposed to my elbows!

    Sadly any kind of hand or headstand is totally beyond me, so I think I’ll stick to trying to get crow right for now. Thanks so much for this – you make it look easy!


  • David March 19, 2013, 7:13 am

    That is the simplest crow explanation I’ve ever watched – can’t wait to get home from work to try it!

  • Colleen March 19, 2013, 8:06 am

    So inspiring!! I’m such a cardio junkie that I can’t get myself to calm down enough to try yoga!

  • Joy March 19, 2013, 8:11 am

    This is a fabulous tutorial. Thanks for explaining this so thoroughly. I’ve never been able to get into crow pose before because I, too, tried to place my knees on my elbows and they would just slip off.

  • Lauren K March 19, 2013, 8:46 am

    You are too good at this stuff! I am going to attempt one tonight, even if it’s after class. Let’s hope I don’t faceplant! Great video!

  • Kristy@RunTheLongRoad March 19, 2013, 8:49 am

    tuck and roll – ha ha, that’s totally me!
    love your instructions for crow – it was never explained that way to me before. i always put my knees way too wide. thanks jen!

  • Liz March 19, 2013, 10:01 am

    Great tutorial!

  • Denyne March 19, 2013, 10:44 am

    Awesome! Wish you where in New Jersey, I would take your class everyday. 🙂

  • She Rocks Fitness March 19, 2013, 11:50 am

    Beautiful tutorial! I’m struggling with jumping back and not sure how to practice it. You make it look way too easy! 🙂 I need to practice… 🙂

  • Carolina John March 19, 2013, 1:16 pm

    nice! I love crow, it’s tough and impressive, and takes lots of upper body and core strength.

  • Allie @ Allie's Appetite March 19, 2013, 1:32 pm

    I’m really impressed how straight you can get your arms! As I attempt to straighten my arms, it seems to put a lot of (bad) pressure on my wrists. Somehow standard crow was never a challenge for me to learn, so now I’m working toward one-legged crow. I can lift one knee off my arm, but I can’t straighten it into the air. Yet. There’s always a “yet” in yoga. 🙂

  • Alyssa March 19, 2013, 1:38 pm

    Great tips! I needed them this week! Tripod is a big goal for me!

  • Pam March 19, 2013, 3:54 pm

    Wonderful! Thank you so much! I’ve been working on getting “Crow”!

  • Christine Collins March 19, 2013, 7:40 pm

    Awesome tutorial! I struggle with explaining crow so succinctly in my yoga classes at times and you nailed it in an effective, but totally accessible way (even though your crow and crow variations are incredibly enviable!!) thank you 🙂

  • Maggie March 24, 2013, 9:34 am

    Great tutorial, Jen! Do you have any tips for crow to handstand? I’m working on straightening my arms as much as possible, sucking my belly in and pulling my feet towards my butt…but it’s just not happening yet. It’s fun to have something to work on, though, and I would appreciate any guidance you can offer. Thank you!

  • Saman Amin August 1, 2013, 6:11 am

    I have a question about Headstand,
    is it bad for the neck or not ?


  • Carolyn October 2, 2013, 12:40 pm

    Thank you! Great video and you are awesome.
    I have been practicing crow for months and also trying to build upper body and core strength. Although I am about 20 years older and 50 lbs heavier than this beautiful yogi, I am happy to say I’m finally getting it but can only hold it for a few seconds – so far. The lesson for all is don’t give up! For me I think a lot of it was fear that I’d snap my neck in a fall. Hehe – hasn’t happened yet 🙂 That’s what I love about yoga – body, mind and spirit working together.

  • Rachael October 23, 2016, 2:12 pm

    Hi, thanks so much for this amazing hack with the blocks. I’ve been trying to master Crow pose for a while now, and every time my knees would slip right off my arms. I just used the block and realized I hadn’t been getting anywhere near enough height with my booty and my angling was all off as a result. Just held my first proper Crow for a whopping 15 seconds!! haha. This post is awesome. Can’t wait to try Crow out some more!!

    • Jen DeCurtins October 26, 2016, 3:00 pm

      You are so welcome and I’m really happy to hear that it helped you. Congrats on your crow! 🙂

  • Pamela June 21, 2017, 3:40 pm

    This is such a great video! Currently working on getting into crow and this is one of the best tutorials I’ve seen 🙂 very impressive how easy you make it look and how you can still casually talk while doing it!

    • Jen June 23, 2017, 7:34 am

      thanks pamela! 🙂 i’m glad you found it helpful.

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