Bakasana

Bakasana
I choose this asana to explore as I always have difficulty getting into this pose correctly, and there are variation for beginners to more advanced practioners. Bakasana is also known as Crow pose as it come from Sanskrit words “crow”, and asana meaning “posture”.

Benefits
As Bakasana is an arm balance, practising regularly helps to increase balance and strength . There’s also therapeutic effect as it helps to improve concentration, collect scattered thoughts and smoothing an erratic breathing pattern. The ability to do this pose also build confidence and trust in yourself.

Preparatory pose
The core, hip (psoas major, illiacus) and arm muscles(Trapezius, deltoid, triceps brachill, biceps brachii, coracobrachialis, serratus anterior) are needed to activate this pose.
Hence to prepare for this pose, following preparactory pose is recommeneded: Adho Mukha Svanasana, Baddha Konasana, Malasana, Plank Pose, Downward dog, Navasana, Lolasana

Anatomy
Antagonist Lengthen:
Boarden the back muscles and feel the lengthening, from trapezius to rhomboid, latissimus, and erector spinae.
Agonist Contract:
Contract the triceps and deltoids and press firmly into the floor
Contract the abdominals and move the navel to the spine, which bring the knees up.
Engage the Serratus Anterior and wrap your shoulder blades around your body.
Protract the shoulder which lift the back and brings the weight out of your hands.

Entry
1. Squat down from mountain pose with heels off the mat. Separate knees wider than hips and learn the torso forward
2. Hold your core, round your back and lean forward into your upper arms
3. Keep yourself tucked tight, with the heels and buttocks close together.
4. Squeeze the legs against the arms, pressing firmly into the mat.
5. Keep head in a neutral position with eyes looking forward and do not let the head drop

Variation
Basic: Try lifting one foot up at a time to get a feel for how far forward you need to bring yourself.
Intermediate: squeezing your triceps and work on straightening the arms.
Advance: From titibasana, externally rotate into bakasana, jump back into chaturanga

Precautions
Neck should be straight to avoid sprain. People with neck problem and pregnant woman should avoid this pose.

Counter pose
Following pose is recommended as a counter stretch: supta baddha konasana, Balasana, Half or full ustrasana (camel pose)

Additional Tips
1. Hands should slightly bend and more than 90 degree
2. Dristi- Look ahead in front of the hands
3. Chakra- Bakasana focus on Ajna(third eye) chakra as concentration is need to hold
4. Engage mula bandha. Draw your abdominals in toward the spine
5. Engage uddiyana bandha , Exhale all of the breath out of your body and curve your spine

ZJ Chung