Bakasana made simple
Bakasana or crane posture is the number 1 step towards advanced arm balancing. There are different versions of this pose with the arms straight or an easier version with the arms bend (kakasana) accessible to everyone. You will find in the following all the ingredients to master the pose and other arm balances. Balancing is a matter of flexibility, strength, trust and knowing what part of thé body to use to use, when and how. Once you understand the mechanics of arm balancing it's only a matter of regular and effective practice to master the pose.
Sometimes it seems like we don't have the strength to lift up, in reality we may have more strength that we think but we just don't know how to use it efficiently. As always it comes down to your breathing, activating the core deep within and expanding through the back more than using arm strength and a sharp focus to be sensitive to ones body and find that fine line where we can hold the balance. If you tip to far forward you will end up putting to much pressure on the armes and wrist and you'll be more likely to fall head first on the ground. To prevent this, think of lifting up through you shoulders and then move forward. On the other side if you don't dare moving forward, you'll never get your feet of the floor. In that situation squeeze the abs, lift up and forward.
This posture requires flexibility in the hips to place the knees under the armpit and strength in the inner thigh as you squeeze the knees closer together to prevent them from sliding.
You need strong core to lift the lower body up. Using the outbreath to squeeze the abs and keep the lower belly drawn in add extra strength and stability to lift up effortlessly.
The final trick is to use the in breath to expand the lungs from the back which will round the back and activate the shoulders to lift up. The action of contracting the abs and expanding through the back will naturally round the back, spreading the shoulder blades away from the spine and the tips down the back.
Start in malasana position with the knees out to the side.
Place the hands in front about shoulder width apart. the tip of the fingers and the bottom of the hand should press firmly onto the floor. Make sure to keep the space between the thumb and index finger pressed on the floor at all time. It has a tendency to lift up.
Turn the smile of the elbows forward and bend the elbows slightly so that the shoulders rest over the hands. The elbows should be close the body and pressing towards each other.
Inhale through the chest, exhale feel the lower belly drawing in and squeeze the abs as much as you can as you bring one knee as close to the armpit as you can.
Inhale through the back round the shoulder and press the hands firmly against the floor. Lift from your shoulder
Exhale keep the abs engaged, keep pressing the hands against the floor and the back rounded and transfer the body weight forward, lifting one foot off the floor. keep the gaze in front of you.
exhale come down
repeat on the other side
Once you are comfortable place both knees and the elbows and repeat the same process until you build the strength to lift both feet off the ground.
Once you are comfortable with the arms bend do the same with the arms straight.
Take it step by step and focus on the action of the breath and the way it changes the shape of the body to activate ultimate strength and stability from the center of your body.
Stay tuned for more articles on how to gain strength, flexibility and efficient breathing practices to work towards arm balancing.
Thanks for reading, enjoy the practice