Even if you've never done regular ol' Crow Pose, you can master this advanced variation of this arm balance with the right preparation. Yoga arm balances may look straight out of Cirque du Soleil and impossible, but breaking the poses down step by step can help you master them. Try out this sequence of yoga poses to stretch your hip flexors, increase the flexibility of your spine, and build your upper-body strength so the next time you hit the mat, you'll be able to do Scissor Legs Side Crow.
Good ol' Crow post perfectly illustrates that yoga is not all about stretching. Arm balances take arm strength and a balanced core. The twisted variation known as Side Crow may look more difficult than your basic Crow, but some people find it's actually easier. This pose strengthens your shoulders and abs, and the twisting will also increase flexibility in your lower back.
|Sanskrit Name: Parsva Bakasana|
English Translation: Side Crane Pose
Also Called: Side Crow
Learn the details of the pose when you read more
I think we're all ready to kick it up a notch and try this gorgeous arm balancing yoga pose. I know it looks intense and very advanced, but as with most yoga poses, with a few tricks and some practice, you'll have this pose down in no time. I've never seen this taught in a traditional yoga class, but actually saw it on this old Russian yoga competition video. Talk about an oxymoron!
|Sanskrit Name: None found|
English Translation: Hummingbird
I know you're dying to try it. To see a video demonstrating an easy way to get into this pose just read more
Yoga poses aren't always calm and relaxing. Some poses require a lot of strength and some circus-like balancing skills. At first glance they may seem impossible, but if you learn the tricks and master the preparatory exercises, you'll be able to do poses you never thought you could do.
In the yoga video Warrior Triangle Sequence, one of the postures I showed you called Eka Pada Koundinyasana (a one-legged pose dedicated to the Sage Koundinya) is tough at first, so it's a good idea to practice the prep pose (pictured below) first. This pose will strengthen your upper body and teach you how to balance your own weight above the ground. It's a really empowering pose once you get it, and it's not easy, so keep at it until you have lift off.
Want to see how to get into this pose step by step? Then read more
Crow pose is part of Second Series in Ashtanga, known as Nadi Shodina, which means nerve purification. It involves a lot of hip openers, backbends, and arm balancing poses.
Just as in Primary Series, you'll do Sun Salutations A and B, standing poses like Triangle, and then move onto the poses in Second Series. It takes 1 1/2 hours to complete and by the end, you'll feel amazing.
Depending on who you talk to, some Ashtanga yoga instructors think you need to master Primary Series before moving onto Second Series. I don't agree. Primary Series is all about forward bending, and Second Series has a lot to do with back bending. I am a firm believer that your body can benefit from all yoga postures, and you shouldn't be restricted from doing any - you should be encouraged to try them all.
Also, if you are constantly bending forward and stretching the back of your body, you'll need to strengthen those muscles too. You need the poses in Second Series to counterbalance the poses in First Series and vice versa. The two Series' complement each other brilliantly.
Second Series is so much fun. You get a chance to try out some more advanced poses like Crow, Forearm Stand, Bow, and Leg Behind the Head. You never know what your body is capable of doing unless you try.
After you finish a Second Series class, your body will feel different. Since it involves a ton of backbending poses, you'll feel a sense of lightness and love from stretching through and opening your chest.
Fit's Tips: I recommend trying Second Series 100%. It's challenging and you'll strengthen and increase flexibility in the muscles of your entire body. Locate an Ashtanga Yoga studio near you and find out if they offer Second Series classes or workshops. You can also check out David Swenson's Ashtanga Yoga Second and Third Series DVD for $24.95.
Check out some pictures of poses from Second Series. Just so you know, these aren't in order.