Bakasana, or Crane Pose (also often called Crow) is an arm balance that works to develop core and arm strength. It is said to resemble a crane wading into water.
To begin, find a squat with the feet relatively close together and the knees a little wider than shoulder width apart. Place the hands on the floor in front of you, spreading the fingers wide and pressing evenly across the entire palm. Lift the hips up away from the floor and with bent elbows, place the knees to the outside of the upper arms with the shins resting lightly on the triceps. Looking forward about a foot in front of your hands, begin to lean slightly forward, bringing more weight into your hands. Keep the shoulder blades wide across the back. Both the chest and the abdominals will be engaged to create a rounded and wide back. If you feel ready and stable here, come forward a little bit more, lifting either one or both feet off the floor, keeping weight pressed into the inner edges of the palms. The arms can stay bent here, or for those with sufficient strength and stability, you can straighten the arms at the elbows.
Stay really connected to the core when you lift the feet. As you engage the abdominals, the knees stay either pressing into the outer triceps or (as a variation) resting on the back of the arms as close to the armpits as possible. See if you can get a little bit lighter with the arms on the legs. Eventually you might imagine that the knees hover right above the upper arms. In the beginning, you may only be able to hold this pose for a second or two, but as you keep working at it, you will develop the strength to stay here for longer and longer periods of time. Taking one leg off the floor at a time is a great way to safely build the strength in the core before you bring all the weight onto the hands.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!