By in Arm Balances
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I sometimes make my students practice Bakasana (Crane Pose, sometimes mistakenly called Crow Pose in the West) as many as three times in a class, because the strength and locks-awareness you necessarily access are foundational for other, more advanced arm balances and straight-arm inverting in handstand.

BREATH AND ALIGNMENT

Begin in Utkatasana (Fierce Posture) with an inhaleexhaling to bow with straight arms as you anchor wide palms directly beneath the shoulders.

Shift your body weight forward as you retract the shoulder blades down the back, anchoring your knees high to your triceps. On the inhale, magnetize your navel to your spine and lift the abdominal wall into the chest cavity, sending your hips to the sky, in Uddiyana Bandha. At the same time, draw your heels towards your hips, as you contract your pelvic floor to lift the perineum towards the navel, in Mula Bandha.

Hold for five breaths, or build strength by drawing one knee into the chest (a variation of Eka Pada Bakasana A) or extending one leg at a time forward, still resting the thigh high on the tricep (Eka Pada Bakasana B). Use the final exhale to float the legs back with bent arms, landing in Chaturanga Dandasana.

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