This week we find our first peak power pose with Bakasana. The openness, strength, and energy that were cultivated with caturanga, utkatasana, and malasana now come together for the flying pose, crow. I love this pose because it requires vulnerability, creates confidence, and is the gateway to all of the other arm balances.
In Bakasana, the hands grip the ground at shoulder width, the knees rest on the triceps, the heart reaches forward, and the feet lift for flight. What really makes this pose soar is the activation of uddiyana bandha that was cultivated in utkatasana and malasana.
Here are a few options and variations that will create proper form and flight in Bakasana.
Option 1 – Bakasana squat. Bring the big toes to touch, reach the knees to the triceps, and bring the hips to a squat. Most likely, the heels will lift from the ground. With the hands pulling towards the feet, reach the heart forward. Lift through the pelvic floor and belly as you explore this squat.
Option 2 – Bakasana prep. From Bakasana squat keep the gaze forward, don’t look straight down at the hands. The floor will do its job and stay grounded. It’s your job to prepare to fly. Keep the knees hugging to the midline. Begin to reach the heart forward, until you are bearing weight on your hands. Softly, bend the elbows back towards a caturanga shape. If you have weak wrists, you may need to work here for a while until you have the strength to bear the weight for longer periods of time.
Option 3 -Bakasana with one foot grounded. From Bakasana prep, slowly lift one foot off the floor toward your tail. Keep the reach of the heart and the lift of the belly as you make this move. Take five full breaths and then switch feet.
Option 4 – Bakasana. Continue to reach the heart forward as if your being pulled across a runway. You’ll need to shift further than you think to find the balance point. As you shift, bring focus to the lift of the belly and pelvic floor. Tuck the heels as close the tail as you can. If you feel stable, begin to straighten the arms as you reach the heart even further. It’s very common to reach past the balance point or lose focus and tumble forward. If you’re concerned about this make a little nest or crash pad with blankets or cushions.
Bakasana helps to develop strong hands and wrists, the energetic lift of uddiyana bandha, and confidence. There’s a playful energy that accompanies this pose as well, if you can get past the fear of flying! Wrists and belly might be a little fatigued after this pose, so find a supported bridge, with a block under the sacrum and roll the wrists a few times to recover.
Whatever variation or focus you work on this week, be sure to work where you feel challenged, but also where you can breath and relax around the work. Follow this weekly challenge @suzannewrightyoga on Instagram or at Suzanne Wright Yoga on Facebook. If you post your pictures or share about your experience be sure to tag #PowerPose and @suzannewrightyoga.