I’m a big fan of arm balancing poses like parshva bakasana (side crow or crane) because they REALLY require that one-pointed focus that yoga is known to cultivate.
For example, if there’s a wobble in parshva bakasana, it might not be about the pose itself but perhaps the mind wandered even just a tiny bit. Take a look at where it went and bring it back.
Focus on keeping your breath long and smooth and measured throughout your attempt, whether or not you “stick the pose.”
This is a case of “It’s all about the journey.” Getting the pose ‘done’ isn’t the point (although it’s super fun!)…it’s much more about how you’re able to regulate the breath and settle the mind while in the midst of a challenge. Even one that includes a bit of fear, as in arm balancing where face planting is indeed possible (trust me, I’ve done it plenty).
In this short sequence I demonstrate an easy little set-up for getting into parshva bakasana with a pashasana warm-up. I’ve found that beginning students are often successful with getting lift-off doing it this way, and more advanced students can try variations from here.
- Use your dristhi (gaze point) to calm the chitta vrittis (mental whirlings) and create inner stillness.
- Give up the need to narrate your experience or judge and evaluate it, as if it were a performance. This is a moment that’s just about you and breath and gravity and balance and space. No one is watching; everyone else is just worrying about what THEY’RE doing.
- Step up on a block to enter parshva bakasana. And since it’s already handy, it’s easy to do.
- Put a pillow in front of your mat so if you do fall forward it’ll be there for your beautiful face plant.
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