Balance, be it physical, mental, or emotional, is hard to come by these days, and the search for equilibrium is often a motive for practicing yoga.
The yoga balancing postures bring a feeling of lightness and inner balance to the body and mind. They also increase strength, develop poise, and improve both concentration and confidence. The balancing postures challenge our weaknesses and test our calmness of mind and control over our nervous system. The arm balances in particular are effective in collecting a scattered mind and smoothing an erratic breathing pattern. The crow pose (kakasana, pronounced caw-caw-sana, like the crow’s call) is one of the arm balances that is easiest to master.
In kakasana the arms become the legs of the crow, the hands become the crow’s feet, and the thighs and legs are folded up to become the body of the crow. Crows are light on their feet they hop, they fly. They’re not earth-bound. Assuming the posture of a crow by supporting our weight on the hands and keeping the body compact and close to the ground gives us an opportunity to free ourselves from our usual patterns of locomotion and our habitual strategies for managing the body with respect to gravity.
Achieving this new sense of balance in the crow pose improves coordination and develops strength and flexibility. The wrists, arms, and shoulders are particularly benefited are stretched and strengthened. This posture is especially stimulating to both the nervous system and the circulatory system in the upper limbs and torso. The pose imparts confidence in the ability of the arms to support the weight of the body, and it gives a sense of lifting and control through the pelvis and abdomen. This is vital for good health and for the performance of many other asanas as well as a variety of pranayama practices. The crow pose can be challenging, but with the right technique and some practice it will become quite natural.