Parsva bakasana (aka, parsva kakasana) is not one of those “out of the box” poses—meaning, you don’t usually stick this arm balance on your very first try.
Although there are plenty of exceptions to that statement (such as men with excellent upper body strength), us mere mortals will need a few things in place before parsva bakasana becomes firmly established in steadiness (sthira) and ease (sukha).
A few hints…
- Warm up the body well and include some deep twists. This is a surprisingly deep twist so without that spinal flexibility already established, your knees will slip off your elbows. (I like to prep using pashasana immediately before I do this pose.)
- Really, and I mean REALLY, pull the chest points forward and look forward. If you look down, that’s where you’ll go. Energy flows where the attention goes.
- Draw the elbows towards one another STRONGLY. Otherwise, they’ll have a tendency to splay apart and you’ll go down right between them.
- Create the deep twist by tucking your uddiyana bandha in and up as if you were tucking your shirt into your pants. Hold that engagement throughout the pose.
- Breathe smooth ujjayi breath during the entry and keep the breath flowing once the legs are lifted.
- DO NOT look at your neighbor in class or the teacher or the dog walking through the room; keep your gaze steadily directed at one single point, preferably a bit in front of you on the mat.
- Keep the knees aligned and stacked. Don’t let one shoot forward. If that’s happening, work more on your deep twists, such as parivrrta trikonasana and parsvakonasana, and try again.
- If your wrists get tender from attempting this, try these excellent wrist strengtheners.
Finding steadiness in parsva bakasana brings a delightful sense of accomplishment and confidence, so don’t give up. It’s totally worth it.
Below are some additional details of this pose…as usual, download this tip sheet at the bottom of this post.
asana name = parsva bakasana (parsva kakasana)
- parsva = side or flank
- baka = crane
- kak = crow
- asana = seat
- Builds strength in shoulders, wrists, spine and core.
- Improves lumbar and hip flexibility.
- Massages abdominal organs, especially the digestion and elimination systems.
- Great for building focus, balance and courage.
- Builds confidence.
- Wrist or shoulder injury.
- Injury in low back area.
- Rest forehead on block or bolster as you lift feet off ground.
- Get comfortable with bakasana first!
- Enter pose from mukta hasta sirsasana (tripod headstand) for added challenge.
- Resting thighs on both arms or only one arm. You’ll find one feels natural to you.
- Soaring grace.
Conclusion: Parsva bakasana
What you can do next
- As usual, scroll down and leave us a comment, such as, what’s been your journey with parsva bakasana? We want to hear from you!
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