You’ve probably felt the satisfaction that comes with truly nailing a yoga pose, especially one that usually starts off with multiple tumbles to the floor, like an arm balance. Yoga is a journey, though, one that never ends. Once you can tackle one yoga pose, step up your game and try something new—something that keeps the challenges coming. Enter baby crane!
“Baby Crane,” or baby bakasana, is a cross between crane (Bakasana) and duck pose (Karandavasana). This challenge pose is a tricky little forearm balance that requires a certain degree of shoulder and core strength, as well as a sense of fearlessness. Your face gets super close to the floor when in its final form, so you must resist the urge to face plant! (And hey, if you do, as we say in yoga: dust yourself off, and try it again!)
While it may look easy, it’s far from simple. This pose gives you the chance to try something whimsical and fun, and it’s a great way to step out of your comfort zone if you already practice crane with ease. So, we dare you. Read on to discover what this pose will achieve in your body, and how to do it.
Benefits Of Baby Crane Pose
Baby crane pose strengthens the shoulders and arms; creates a stretch through the upper back, since your spine is deeply in flexion, or rounded; and helps to tone the core. Baby bakasana will also help create more strength in your wrists and forearms and really brings home the idea of “root to rise”—a cue that I adore. “Root to rise” means you have to ground down (push the floor away) to lift or hold yourself up. It really creates a sense of isometric, energetic strength.
1. Set up as you would for crane pose. If you aren’t familiar with crane pose, no worries. You will begin by coming into a low squat (malasana), with your knees bent. Come up onto the balls of your feet, bring your big toes together and separate your knees wide apart. I like to try to balance here for several breaths, keeping the spine nice and long, and drawing the abdominals in and up.
2. Next, plant your hands on the mat in front of you, just wider than shoulder-width apart, then bend your elbows and place your forearms down on the mat. Make sure your forearms are parallel to one another and that your elbows aren’t splaying out to the sides. Firm the outer, upper arms in as you would in downward dog.
3. Lift your hips up slightly and begin to hug your knees around your upper outer arms. Find the action of squeezing your legs in toward the midline of your body. Imagine there are tiny magnets on the outer arms, and your inner thighs are drawn toward them.
4. Shift your weight forward and keep your gaze just ahead of your fingertips. When you look down, you fall down! Remember, your face will be just hovering off the mat. Begin to round through your upper back and come up onto the tips of your toes. Play here. See what happens if one foot leaves the ground; place it back down. Try the other foot. What happens if BOTH lift off? If you do find liftoff, bring the tops of your feet away from the floor, drawing your heels up high in toward your bottom. Hold for several deep breaths if you can. Resist the urge to “dump” into your shoulders to avoid strain.
It takes a fair amount of strength in your belly, back and arms to pull this baby bird pose off. If it seems impossible, don’t fret. Simply work on some of the poses we have covered earlier in this series to build the proper strength. Keep at those chaturangas; work on holding your boat pose. Practice the concepts from crane pose, if you have taken this one on before, and apply them toward baby crane. With some practice, you will soon be on your way. And guess what? Once you get this baby down, there’s always more to learn.
Model: Lana Russo
Photo by: Kim Hurst
Clothing by: lululemon