146
THE ASANAS
Floor
Crow pose is an arm balance that uniquely develops
your strength, exibility, balance, and agility. Working your
wrist muscles is a great antidote to typing on a computer
all day. Plus, this challenging pose oers an opportunity
to face your fears and be playful in your practice.
THE BIG PICTURE
Practicing Crow strengthens the muscles
of your wrists, shoulders, arms, hips, and
abdomen. In this pose, you are fully
weight-bearing on your hands, with your
upper body working to support you and
keep you balanced.
CROW
Bakasana
ALIGNMENT
Your knees rest on a shelf created by your upper
arms. Gaze forward with your chin slightly lifted.
Press down into the floor and be prepared to fall
backward with grace.
Knees rest on
shelf created by
upper arms
Look forward
and out
to around
2 ft (60 cm)
Elbows
stable
Neck long
Press down
into floor
to lift up
Thighs
Your hip exors engage to
ex your hips. Your hamstrings
ex your knees and your
quadriceps stretch. Your
adductors are recruited
to adduct and stabilize
your hips and thighs.
Lower legs
Your plantar exors engage
to point your toes, while your
dorsiexors slightly stretch—
particularly your tibialis anterior.
Hip
Semitendinosus
Tensor fasciae latae
Rectus femoris
Biceps femoris
Vastus lateralis
Soleus
Tibialis anterior
Gastrocnemius
Flexor hallucis longus
Ankle
Knee
Toes pointed
KEY
Joints
Muscles
Engaging
Engaging while
stretching
Stretching
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1 47
Neck
Your cervical extensors
engage to look forward
about 2 ft (60 cm)
while your cervical
exors are stretching.
Arms
Your triceps engage as you
press into the oor, resisting
more elbow exion. Your elbow
exors help to stabilize the
joints. Your wrist extensors
extend your wrists and your
wrist exors stretch while
stabilizing your hands in
position. Your rotator cu,
pectoralis muscles, and
serratus anterior muscles
stabilize your body in position.
Torso
Your abdominals engage to
ex your spine, while your
spinal extensors, trapezius,
rhomboids, and latissimus
dorsi stretch. Your hip exors
particularly your iliopsoas
engage. Your serratus anterior
muscles stabilize your scapulae.
Splenius muscles
Sternocleidomastoid
Serratus anterior
Spinal extensors
Iliacus
Quadratus lumborum
Psoas major
Spine
Triceps brachii
Deltoids
Pectoralis major
Teres minor
Infraspinatus
Biceps brachii
Flexor digitorum superficialis
Elbow
Extensor carpi ulnaris
Palmaris longus
Brachioradialis
Extensor carpi radialis longus
Extensor carpi radialis brevis
Brachialis
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148
CROW
Bakasana
CLOSER LOOK
Crow is a challenging balancing pose that strengthens
your wrists. Finding playfulness in the pose can help you
reveal a sense of bravery and resilience.
Wrist strengthening
Arm balances strengthen your wrist
extensors, which can often be weak due to
lack of use. Likewise, your wrist exors may
be tight from typing, texting, and grasping
things. This action stretches them to help
prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. However, if
you currently have wrist issues, this amount
of weight bearing is probably too much.
Underneath the erector
spinae, your quadratus
lumborum stretches
Pressure and balance
Your forearms and hands bear your weight in
Crow. Spread the weight evenly across both
hands and across the knuckles of each hand.
Find a sense of play in this pose and laugh
when you fall back. Research suggests that
play is not only vital for children but enhances
life satisfaction and well-being in adults.
Chin is lifted
for balance
Spinal extensors, such
as the erector spinae,
slightly stretch
Wrists are
extended
Extensor
carpi ulnaris
Extensor carpi
radialis longus
Extensor carpi
radialis brevis
Quadriceps
stretch as knee
is flexed
Knees pulled
into body
Weight even
across hands
Gaze ahead of
your hands to
keep head up
ANTERIOR VIEW
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149
THE ASANAS
Floor
Feet are pointed
(in plantar flexion)
Low squat
Getting down to (and up from) the
oor as in this low squat (malasana)—
the starting point for Crow pose—is
extremely benecial for your body.
Moreover, your ability to get
up and down from the ground
successfully, and ideally without
using your hands, is a strong
indicator of your lifespan.
Cerebellum activation
This pose activates your cerebellum,
which is responsible for muscle
memory. It detects shifts in balance,
coordinates smooth muscle and eye
movement, and helps your body
learn complex movement patterns
that become second nature with
practice, such as riding a bike or
getting into Crow pose.
Triceps engage
by pressing up
against the weight
of your knees
Fingers are
spread
Keep your knees
wide apart
Heels lower to
ground as far
as comfortable
Wrist flexors
lengthen but
engage to
stabilize
Cerebellum
POSTERIOR–LATERAL VIEW
Tibialis anterior
lengthens as calf
muscles engage
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