Flying Crow Pose, Sanskrit: Eka Pada Galavasana, (eh-kah pah-dah gah-lah-VAHS-anna)
eka (one) + pada (foot) + Galava (name of a sage)+ asana (pose)
Also Known as: Flying Crow Pose, Flying Pigeon Pose, Eka Pada Bakasana, One-Legged Crow Pose
Add a new challenge to your arm balance practice with this advanced asana.
Crow Pose Fundamentals
If you’ve been into yoga for a while, you probably have known of or already tried Crow Pose. But Flying Crow is a bit less popular, mainly because it is quite a challenging asana.
It is a progression from Crow and shouldn’t be your first arm balance to try, but that makes it perfect if you want to level up. It offers a fun play of strength and stability and it can be interesting trying to find that sweet spot where you can balance it.
Wobbles and falling are a natural part of learning any arm balance, and this could happen in Flying Crow too. Take it as a game, and have patience with yourself. If you’re afraid of falling, put a pillow beneath your head.
There’s a lot of coordination that goes into this pose which makes it so interesting, but also challenging. That’s where your focus and mindfulness will also help you: being present is essential to balance it.Always warm up before the pose, activate the arms, chest, and abs, and do some hip stretches.
Flying Crow Pose Benefits
- Strengthens the core strength1 Rathore, M., Trivedi, S., Abraham, J. and Sinha, M. (2017). Anatomical correlation of core muscle activation in different yogic postures. International Journal of Yoga, [online] 10(2), p.59. doi: https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-6131.205515, wrists, neck, and shoulders.
- Builds arm strength, particularly the triceps.
- Opens the hips.
- Improves your sense of balance2 Jeter, P.E., Nkodo, A.-F., Moonaz, S.H. and Dagnelie, G. (2014). A Systematic Review of Yoga for Balance in a Healthy Population. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, [online] 20(4), pp.221–232. doi: https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2013.0378.
- It’s a fun challenge that brings a sense of accomplishment when you succeed.
- Improves your focus and awareness.
How To Do Crow Pose: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
- Start squatting in Chair Pose, and place your hands near your chest in Prayer Pose.
- Shift your weight to the left foot and lift the right foot off the ground.
- Cross the right ankle over the left leg, so it sits above the left knee.
- Now come into a forward bend and place your palms on the floor.
- Wrap the toes of the right foot around the left arm, above the elbow. Flex the foot.
- Bend both elbows into a Chaturanga position, creating a shelf for your leg.
- Lean forward with your body weight and place your right shin on the upper arms.
- When you’re ready, lift the left foot off the floor. Keep bringing your weight forward, then straighten your left leg behind you, flexing the foot and keeping it off the floor.
- Breathe and hold for as long as you can. Release slowly and with control, comping back to chair pose.
- Rest for a bit, then repeat on the other side.
Tips And Tricks:
- One of the most difficult things in this pose is keeping the back foot off the floor when you straighten the leg. In the beginning, you can keep the leg bent.
- Make sure you master Crow Pose in your yoga practice before attempting Flying Crow Pose. It will give you a solid foundation for the asana.
- You could fall in this pose like in any arm balance, but it is generally harmless as your head is close to the floor and the arms will also soften the fall. If you’re still insecure, place a pillow below your head.
- Make sure to warm up, particularly your shoulders, arms, and wrists. Follow sun salutations up with some more specific warm ups.
- Lean your chest and upper body forward to help you with balance.
- Grip the mat with your fingers and adjust your hands as much as you need throughout the pose to help you with balance.
- Keep the elbows aligned, don’t allow them to splay outward.
- Push the floor away from you and activate your ab muscles and build strength for that extra lift.
- As this is an advanced pose, it’s a good idea to learn it under the supervision of a yoga teacher in a yoga class.
Crow Pose Variations:
Crow Pose (Kakasana)
Crow Pose is a perfect preparatory pose for Flying Crow. If you’re not able to get into Flying Crow Pose, do this asana first to build a strong foundation.
For Crow Pose, begin in a squat with knees wide. Place your hands on the floor, in front of your feet.
Come onto your tippy toes and tilt your torso forward so your knees rest onto the upper arms. Lift your lower body, bend your arms, and tilt your chest forward to shift your center of gravity – that will make it easier to balance.
For more details, read our full Crow Pose guide here.
Crane Pose (Bakasana)
Once you can hold Crow Pose for some time, you can progress to Crane Pose.
Starting from Crow, you will begin to straighten your arms. Your knees will be higher up on the arm – just below the armpits, and you want to actively bring the feet and buttocks closer together.
Head On Yoga Block
If you feel like you’ll fall, place a block in between your hands before entering Flying Crow Pose.
Then, as you move your torso forward, place your forehead on the block. Lifting the back foot of the floor will be much easier, and you will feel more stable.
Keep One Leg On The Floor
If you are still afraid of balancing but want to get used to the sensation of this pose, you can simply keep the back leg on the floor.
Lift on the ball of the back foot, and shift your torso forward, getting used to bearing weight on your arms and getting a general feel of the pose.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Breathing incorrectly. When we do challenging postures, we tend to forget to breathe. However, breathing deeply will improve your focus and performance – it actually makes it much easier to hold the pose.
Not warmed up. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or an advanced practitioner, you need to be warm before doing Flying Crow, to prepare your body and protect yourself from injury.
Wrist pain. If you are new to arm balances, you might feel wrist pain in this pose. This is often due to a lack of strength in the hands and forearms, which you can build up with arm-strengthening poses like the Chaturanga. It is also essential to warm up the wrists and stretch them afterward to keep them safe.
Contraindications or Injuries
Avoid this pose if you have undergone surgery or have an injury in the spine, feet, hips, wrists, neck, hands, legs, knees, pelvis, fingers, or ankles. Also avoid if you have low blood pressure or have any balance problems, including dizziness.
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