Commentary by Sally Brown Bassett
When I visit orphanages and schools in different parts of the world, I always try to take the opportunity to teach yoga. It is fun to start off with some easy stretches and flows. Then I might do a tree pose to quiet the children down and get them to focus. The big hit, however, is crow pose. As a child you might have remembered it has “tip up.”. Kids marvel at this 50-something-year-old woman balancing on her hands, but before you know it they are all trying it.
In an adult class this arm balance may seem daunting at first, but with time and patience, most people can master it. Anyone who gets into the pose the first time is encouraged to yell out “break-through.”
Crow pose strengthens the arms, wrists and abdominals in addition to stretching the upper back. Like I have said before, yoga is humbling as well as empowering. This particular pose is great for confidence building and self-awareness. Perhaps the biggest challenge is the willingness to let go.
To get into Crow or Bakasana in Sanskrit, place your heels together and hands directly under your shoulders on the floor. Spread your fingers wide, bend your arms and place your knees right above the elbows. Shift the weight more onto your hands and lift one toe of the ground for baby crow. Lean more onto your hands, look straight down, and lift the other toe into full crow. The further you lean your face towards the ground, the easier it will be.
As with any pose, don’t get too hung up on it: It will come to you when your body is ready. Remember, there’s no pushing or forcing necessary; just take the steps, breathe deeply, and move in a way that feels right for you. For those who want more of a challenge, you can always take your head to the earth while in crow and do a headstand. Yoga lets you play like being a kid again.
Until next time… Namaste!
Dr. Sally Brown Bassett is a yogi, social entrepreneur and world traveler. She is president of Peace through Yoga Foundation, where she leads trips to Costa Rica and visits their International Elementary School for Girls. Sally teaches at the Peace through Yoga studios as well as Butler University. She can be reached at email@example.com