Parsva Bakasana: Side Crow Pose

parsva bakasana taylorharkness

Parsva bakasana (PARSH-vah bahk-AHS-anna) is an arm balancing posture requiring a deep twist in the torso. This posture tones the belly and spine. As an arm balance, side crow gives the gift of confidence, balance, and focus.

Philosophy + Origin

Often referred to as the crow pose, bakasana actually translates to crane pose, which may conjure up much more attractive symbolism. Crow pose, or kakasana, is a slightly different pose. In kakasana, the arms are bent; in bakasana, the arms are straight. As the arms straighten into bakasana, the imagery becomes much clearer – the arms long and graceful; the body still and regal. In Asian cultures, especially Japan, the crane represents happiness, eternal youth, good fortune, and longevity. And while the crow is thought to be a harbinger of bad luck or misfortune, in many cultures it symbolizes magic, mystery, intelligence, and destiny.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Start with your feet on a block to give your hips a lift.
  • Turn your gaze in the direction of your feet to release any fear of falling forward.
  • Although you can access this pose more easily by placing your outer hip on your elbow, working to get the hip to hover is a better long-term practice for your shoulders.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin in chair pose with your hands together at heart center. On an exhale, twist to the right by hooking your left elbow as far around your right thigh as possible.
  2. Slowly lower your hips to your heels, so you are on your tip-toes with the twist.
  3. Draw your left arm down toward the floor so the armpit is as close as possible to your right thigh. Place the palm of your left hand on the floor just outside your right foot, and your right hand about your shoulder-width distance away.
  4. Lean your weight into your left arm and slowly shift your weight forward, into your hands.
  5. Play with lifting your left foot off the ground, then your right. If your feet lift off the ground, keep your feet together and flex your feet (rather than pointing them).
  6. Hug your belly up and in, and breathe!
  7. Hold up to 30-seconds or more. When ready, lower the feet down to your mat on an exhalation. Come back to stand at the top of your mat, then repeat on the other side.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

  • Pose of the sage Marchi | Marichyasana I
  • Hurdler pose | Eka pada koundinyasana II
  • Noose pose | Pasasana

COUNTER POSES:

SANSKRIT:

  • Parsva = side
  • Baka = crane
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Strengthens and tones the arms and shoulders
  • Engages and strengthens the core.
  • Strengthens the hands and wrists

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Focuses mind and energy
  • Boosts confidence


Utthita Trikonasana: Triangle Pose

trianglev2 daynaseraye 1

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

A classic standing posture in many yoga lineages utthita trikonasana (oo-TEE-tah trik-cone-AHS-uh-nah), strengthens and stretches the entire body. Approaching the pose with knowledge of intelligent modifications will help you enjoy the posture and all it has to offer.

Philosophy + Origin

In hatha yoga, where the intent is to unite opposing forces – sun with moon, masculine with feminine, light with dark – this pose offers an opportunity to embody this philosophy when you focus on finding stability while you expand. When you look at the physical shape of the posture, you also see the triangles being formed. And, when you look a little closer, you find several triangles hidden in the shape of the body – the two legs with the floor, floating under the side body, and between the front foot and the front hand.

Read Article

More In Focus

Our unique blend of yoga, meditation, personal transformation, and alternative healing content is designed for those seeking to not just enhance their physical, spiritual, and intellectual capabilities, but to fuse them in the knowledge that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.


Use the same account and membership for TV, desktop, and all mobile devices. Plus you can download videos to your device to watch offline later.

Desktop, laptop, tablet, phone devices with Gaia content on screens

Discover what Gaia has to offer.

Testing message will be here