April 1, 2014 | by Laura Kasperzak
Parsva Bakasana

Twist, twist, twist! Parsva Bakasana, or Side Crane/Crow, can be a huge challenge for some yogis. Just like Bakasana, this pose requires flexibility, and the more flexibility you have the better! So, don’t be ashamed if you need some help. Use a block to perch on and a strap to keep your elbows in towards your body.


Step 1: Warm up with a twist

Begin by standing at the top of your mat, feet together or hip width distance apart. On an inhale, sweep the arms up overhead as you bend your knees and come into Chair Pose. Weight shifts slightly towards your heels…you should be able to lift up your toes! Take 5 deeps breaths.

Bring your hands in prayer at heart center. On an exhale, twist over to the right, hooking the left elbow to the outside of your right thigh for Revolved Chair Pose. Try to work the left armpit down toward your thigh as your hands press actively together. Your right shoulder will pull slightly back. Try your best to keep your knees in line with each other and your hands at heart center. Take 5 deep breaths then release and twist to the opposite side. Take a forward fold once you have completed this on both sides.


Step 2: Find your birdie perch!

Start off in your Revolved Chair Pose. Slowly start to lower your bottom down, coming onto the balls of the feet and bringing your hands down onto your mat. Remember to stay twisted!  If you have trouble here, grab a block and stand on it.  That little bit of added height will help you get your hands onto your mat.

Spread your fingers and suction the palms of your hands onto your mat. Keep your elbows squeezing in. The outside of your right thigh will be alongside your left tricep.  Your right hip will be between your hands. Take a moment to adjust…working the right thigh up toward the left armpit.


Step 3: Almost ready for lift off!

From your little birdie perch, slowly start to lift your bottom up as you lean forward and bend your arms. Think Chaturanga Dandasana arms…so squeeze in your elbows! Gaze forward and try to keep your shoulders square.


 Step 4: Start to take off!

Keeping your gaze forward, elbows squeezing in, shoulders square…attempt to lift up the top foot.


Step 5: Take Flight!

Only when you are ready…try to bring the bottom foot up to meet the top foot and take flight! Squeeze your thighs together, engage your core. If you can, hold the pose for 5-8 breaths before coming back down.

***Modification #1:  Place a block, longways, either under your forehead or your chest to give added support. This will allow you to feel what this arm balance is like with both feet lifted!

***Modification #2:  Allow your right hip to rest on top of your right tricep so you are balancing your weight between both arms.


Advanced Option: Straight Arms


Have fun and be safe!


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