While Crow Pose (Kakasana) is an arm balance that may look “easy” compared to a one-handed handstand push-up, it is actually extremely challenging. Crow Pose takes strength, patience, and a daringness to fly.
In order to protect your joints and tendons, continue reading to learn about some common misalignments in Crow Pose and how to fix them:
Unevenly Distributed Weight
Misalignment: When the hips are too high, almost vertical to the head, weight is unevenly distributed. Not only does this increase the chance of face planting onto the mat, it also increases the pressure and weight on the wrists.
Too much weight in the wrists can lead to muscle and joint injuries. Additionally, uneven weight distribution makes the body feel heavier and more difficult to lift as the arms compensate for lack of core engagement.
Fix: Activating the intercostal and back muscles slightly rounds the back and lifts and holds up the legs. Spreading the fingers and grounding from knuckles to finger tips distributes the weight more evenly throughout the palms.
In addition, sending the hips back and being mindful to keep the elbows stacked directly over the wrists (forearms perpendicular to the floor) decreases the angle of the wrists to the floor.
Misalignment: Bending the elbows out to the sides may result in joint pain because outward-pointing elbows can stress the joint and increase the weight in the wrists. This is also why it is best to keep the elbows hugging toward the ribcage in Chaturanga.
Fix: Practice Chaturanga arms as a base for Crow Pose. Elbows directly located over the wrists and bending back so the creases face forward.
Misalignment: Shoulders are a common place to hold tension. In Crow Pose, the shoulders drift up to the ears which compresses the shoulders and can lead to injury in the shoulder girdle or rotator cuff.
Fix: Start by rolling the shoulders down the spine before reaching with the sternum forward and opening the collarbones for Crow Pose.
Forgetting the Feet
Misalignment: It can be an exhilarating feeling and is a major accomplishment to get the feet off the ground. So much so that once they're up, it's easy to forget to keep lifting the feet. A common misalignment involves the feet just dangling and getting heavier until the feet fall back to the mat.
Fix: Keep lifting the feet toward the butt and squeezing the big toes together. When it is time to lower, engage the spine and back muscles to gently lower the toes onto the mat, then allow weight to shift back into the feet. The quieter and slower the transition, the more core strength required.
Unsure Drishti (Gaze)
Misalignment: The gaze is back at the feet which is great for forward rolls, less helpful for Crow Pose. Or the gaze is straight down at the mat which also increases the chance of falling forward and hurting the muscles and joints.
Fix: Gaze forward, roughly 3 feet in front of the hands. If there is a fear of falling, place a pillow or two in front of the hands and practice falling and getting back up.
Happy Flying! Do you have any alignment tips or fixes for Crow Pose? Please share them with us below!