Are you at that point of the game in your yoga practice where you need to pump up your edge a bit? Do you need to stoke your internal fire and begin to be a bit more playful on your mat?
Well, why not fly low in Baby Crow? Baby Crow or Karandavasana (Duck Pose) is a great pose to honor those moments of small beginnings. Not only is it the most adorable looking pose, it's a low to the ground arm balance that involves core and upper body strength. It allows you to draw your attention inwardly by being present and heck, it's fun to spice up your practice. So sit tight and enjoy the ride as you leap and take flight in Baby Crow!
Here's a few prep poses to get your crow off the ground. Enjoy these fun moments of small beginnings as you take flight and leap forward playfully.
Start with a few rounds of your favorite Sun Salutations to warm the body up. Once you've warmed the body, cleared the mind and found a smooth rhythmic breath, find Downward Facing Dog Pose.
1. Dolphin Plank
From Downward Dog, hinge forward until you come into a Plank Pose position where your shoulders are directly over your wrists and there's a straight line of energy from the back of your skull to the back of your heels. From here, bend your elbows and place them on your mat one at a time as you come into Dolphin Plank or Forearm Plank. Your elbow are directly under your shoulders, thighs are engaged and the belly drawing in and up firmly. As you hold this pose, focus on broadening your shoulder blades onto the back and try to keep shoulders down and away from the ears. Practice equanimity as you create strength in the core and upper body which is required for the Baby Crow. Stay here for 10 cycles of breaths as you breathe in the life force.
2. Malasana (Garland Pose)
From Dolphin Plank, place hands back onto the floor and find Plank Pose position and then hinge back into Downward Facing Dog. From Down Dog, lift your chin, look forward and step or hop your feet to the outsides of your hands, toes out and heels in. Bend your knees and lower your hips into a low squat, Malasana Pose, with your knees pointing outward in the same directions as your toes. Allow your hands to come into Namaste at heart centre (aka Anjali Mudra or prayer hands). Gently press knees away from one another with your elbows to lengthen your inner thighs and groin. Allow the torso to lengthen upwards towards the sky and relax any hint of tension in the shoulders, face and jaw. Stay here for 10 breaths enjoying the moment of expansion in the inner legs.
3: Karandavasana Variation (Baby Crow)
So stoke up yogis! We're going to take flight and leap into the Baby Crow. From Malasana Pose, place elbows back onto floor (same as Dolphin Plank). Hug the knees into the upper arms and draw the belly up and in (same as Malasana Pose). From here, gently hinge forward until your weight is distributed evenly into the hands, forearms and elbows and begin to lift one foot from the floor. Once you feel comfortable and you intuitively feel you are ready to come into the full expression of the pose, lift the other foot from the floor. Point your toes, find a soft gaze on the floor. Practice calmness within sensation as you hover and indulge in this moment of taking flight. Stay here for a few breaths enjoying the sensation of strength, focus, concentration and equanimity.
Slowly release out of the pose and take a moment in Child's Pose enjoying the sensation of surrender and letting go. Stay here for a few moments allowing the breath to slow down to it's natural rhythm before you take on the rest of your day.
The beginning stages of an arm balance practice can be quite a challenge to find a balance of surrender verses playing your yogic edge. It can sometimes frustrate ones OM sensation as we try to hurry our way into something that is not ready to be achieved.
As I continued to dip my toes into yoga, I really began to intuitively honor these moments of small beginnings. Just like a child begins to crawl, roll over, stand and then begins to walk, we too need to take those baby steps before the magic begins to unfold organically for us.
So yogis, honor the process of small beginnings. Be patient, let go of ego and be playful as you take the necessary baby steps along your journey into arm balancing and watch things naturally unfold for you physically, mentally and spiritually as it was meant to be.
Yogini Linda Summers is a Canadian girl, a mamma to two beautiful children, Namaste Yoga Studio owner and a yogini in every aspect of her being. Linda loves living the life of a yogini on and off the mat and she teaches with the intention that each individual leaves class feeling strong and vibrant so they too can live each day to the fullest.
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