7 Steps to Achieve One Legged Crow Pose

Crow pose (Bakasana) is a foundational yoga asana that will help you build the strength, tenacity, and confidence to move into more challenging arm balancing postures, inversions, and creative transitions. 

From Light On Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar, Bakasana is shown in two variations, crow and crane. In the crow pose, the arms are slightly bent in the modified version, whereas in the crane pose the elbows are straight. 

The Sanskrit name translates from Baka = crane and asana = posture. 

Bakasana is an intermediate yoga asana classified as an arm balance and inversion. These postures are from the Hatha Yoga tradition and are featured in many modern yoga classes such as Vinyasa, Power, and Rocket. Bakasana requires strength, agility and focus. 

In the Ashtanga tradition, the intermediate sequence builds towards Bakasana B, which is the variation where the practitioner jumps from a crane pose to a downward dog. 

Keep reading to see the benefits, counter poses, contradictions, and sample vinyasa yoga classes to build toward Bakasana (crow pose), Eka Pada Bakasana (one-legged crane pose), and a transition from crow pose to tripod headstand.

About Bakasana – Crow Pose 

Crow pose is similar to full crane pose. The two postures look very similar and yet are different. In the crow pose, the arms are bent to create a little shelf for the knees. In a crane pose, you push your arms to become more straight.

Bakasana requires more core and inner thigh stability to recruit the strength to sustain the pose. In crow pose, the shelf of the arms with the elbows bent means that the legs’ weight doesn’t fully rely on the core strength to hold them up.  

Both postures strengthen the abdominals, inner thighs, arms, and hands.

Arm balancing requires flexion at the wrist, so stretching the forearm muscles and winding out the wrists beforehand may bring more ease and agility to your pose. 

Bakasana is also considered an inversion as the hips are higher than the heart. 

Strength, agility and focus are necessary to achieve Bakasana. A strong core, inner thighs, and arms are needed to sustain the posture. Agility is necessary as this posture requires that you balance the two heaviest points on the body, the head and the pelvis. Focus is the final part of the pose as it is a difficult posture to maintain. 

Leaning forward in arm balances helps with the weight distribution. Balancing the weight between the head and the tail requires less arm strength.

The engagement of Mula Bandha (root lock) helps to fly the feet away from the ground. The bandhas are locks or energetic seals we create in the body to direct the flow of energy.

Mula bandha is the first of the three bandhas and involves contracting the perineum muscles; when these muscles are contracted, we draw the energy upwards and contract the deep core muscles of the abdomen—the stabilizers—that assist in arm balancing. 

Physical, Mental and Emotional Benefits

The physical benefits include:
  • Builds strength in the abdominals, deep core stabilizers, and adductors to alleviate and help with lower back pain.
  • Strengthens the wrists, hands, arms, chest, shoulders, and upper back.
  • Stretches the upper back and groin
The mental/emotional benefits include:
  • Improves mental clarity, focus, and concentration
  • Enhances self-awareness and perception.
  • Boosts confidence through overcoming challenges and fears

The Best Crow Pose Prep

Oil riggers by Ana Forrest are a challenging method to build strength to come into Bakasana or Eka Pada Bakasana.

In this variation, we’ll use yoga blocks under the feet to help lift the hips as you extend one leg. 

7 Steps to Perform Oil Riggers: 

  1. Plant your palm firmly on the ground. 
  2. Set a block on the lowest height behind one palm and step a foot onto the block.
  3. Bend your elbows slightly and press your fingers into the ground to stabilize.
  4. Take the knee of the leg on the block into your upper arm. 
  5. Bring the weight into the foot on the block and lift the heel. 
  6. Inhale and lift the other leg (the extended leg) towards the sky.
  7. Exhale and lower the leg toward the ground and tap the toes. 

New Members get the first 7-days free on the Practice with Clara Apps!

How to Get Into Crow Pose –
The Most Straightforward Way!

Watch the crow pose tutorial with a block. 

Using a block when practicing crow pose helps lift the hips so they’re higher than the heart.

How to use a block to come into crow:

  • Place your block on the lowest height in the middle of your mat. 
  • Step both feet onto the block.
  • Lift your heels high and perch with your knees wide.
  • Take your hands to the ground, a bit wider than your shoulders.
  • Claw the mat with your fingerpads and lift your pelvis toward the sky.
  • Take your knees towards your upper arms into the armpit pocket. 
  • Squeeze your knees tight to either side of your upper arm. 
  • Keep your pelvis high and look forward. 
  • Puff up the back body with your breath and hug the belly in and up. 
  • Draw the weight forward until you feel your hands on the ground and come to your tiptoes.
  • Practice lifting one foot from the block and holding it for a few seconds. Then do the other side. 
  • Perhaps try to take both feet up at the same time. 

Tip to Sustain Crow Pose

Breathe into your mid-upper back. Send your breath into the back of the lungs.
You will not be able to breathe deeply into the belly or front body owing to the spine’s shape in this posture, so send your breath into the back of the lungs and round your mid-upper back.
Contract the lower abdomen and engage mula bandha to ignite the deep core stabilizers. 

Activate the Bandhas for Arm Balancing

The Bandhas are locks in the body used to direct the flow of Prana (energy).

Bandha translates as ‘to tighten’ or ‘lock.’

There are four bandhas we work with in yoga: 

  1. Mula Banda – root lock located at the perineum  
  2. Uddiyana Bandha – the middle lock located at the diaphragm
  3. Jalandhara Bandha – the top lock located at the throat
  4. Maha Bandha – the master lock with all three bandhas engaged 

Mula Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha are the locks that seal the energy at the top and bottom of the spinal column where the Kundalini resides. Mula Bandha prevents the energy from moving downward. In arm balancing postures, you want the energy drawing in and upwards to sustain the pose, so engaging Mula Bandha energetically seals the Prana (vitality) and draws the life force upwards. 

Engagement of the bandhas also improves focus, mental clarity and concentration.  

Mula Bandha is needed when practicing crow/crane postures. Mula “root”, bandha “lock/seal”. When engaged, supports the pelvis and lower back by engaging the pelvic floor and lower abdominal muscles.. The technical location of Mula Bandha is at the root chakra at the base of the perineum, which is the area between the anus and genitals. This area is also called the pelvic floor muscles. 

How to tell if you are engaging Mula Bandha? 

Mula Bandha functions like a kegal exercise. It is the action of lifting the pelvic floor. Stopping your urine mid-flow will give you a gauge of what Mula Bandha feels like in your body. 

Manipura – The Chakra to Aid Crow Pose 

The chakras represent a map of the subtle body. Chakra translates as ‘wheel’ or ‘circle.’

Seven chakras traverse the spine from crown to tail. Each chakra symbolizes how energy moves and expresses itself through themes, colours, symbols, and sounds. 

Manipura chakra, the third chakra, is located at the solar plexus. Its location is below the ribs and above the navel. On a physiological level, the solar plexus is a complex system of nerves and ganglia (nerve bundles). It is part of the sympathetic nervous system and helps regulate and control various organs around the abdomen to keep functioning properly. The solar plexus also communities with the brain, sending and receiving intricate signals to and through the rest of the body. 

Also known as the ‘City of Jewels, ’ Manipura is symbolic of the digestive fires (Agni), transformation, power, vitality, and strength.

Our gut is where we process and assimilate information. The stronger our Agni, the healthier we are. When Manipura is balanced, we absorb nutrients back into the body more efficiently. 

Inversions and arm balances can bring up fear as an obstacle.

Bring your attention to Manipura chakra, the space that requires the transformative power of fire, to overcome your angst and discomfort! Manipura is activated during the crow/crane pose and asks that we use our body’s strength, mental concentration, and emotional resilience to sustain the pose. 

Prepare Your Body for Bakasana

To prepare your body for crow pose, you will want to strengthen the core (front and back body), inner thighs, and arms.

You will also want to lengthen the muscles along the back body to create a deep arch in the spine and the muscles along the inner thighs to get your knees hooked up high into your armpit. 

Postures that will help you prepare for crow/crane include:
  • Navasana (boat pose).
  • Phalakasana (plank pose).
  • Utthan Pristhasana (lizard pose).
  • Malasana (yogic squat).
  • Ananda Balasana (happy baby pose).

5 (short!) yoga classes to prepare for crow pose:

  1. Fly Like An Eagle – Vinyasa
  2. Quick Fire – Core 
  3. Quick to Balance – Lila Flow
  4. Dark Night – Lila Flow 
  5. What I Learn – Lila Flow 

Contradictions to Bakasana

People recovering or who have hip injuries, wrist injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, or migraines should avoid doing crow pose until cleared by a doctor. 
People who are pregnant or menstruating, and those who suffer anxiety, should also avoid this arm balance and take malasana (yogic squat) or baddha konasana (bound angle pose).
For those with neck injury/sensitivity, those who are not taking the arm balance/inversion, and those with knee sensitivity, you can take malasana (yogic squat).

Poses to Counter Bakasana

Similar to a plank pose, arm balances ask that you push the ground away from you to engage the muscles to sustain the posture.

The shoulders, pectorals, upper back, and arms work very hard in arm balancing postures. This includes the pectorals, deltoids, lats, rhomboids, trapezius, and biceps muscles. The abdominals and inner thighs also work hard to sustain crow and crane pose. The psoas, aka the hip flexor, is the muscle that helps draw the legs into the armpit. 

To counter crow and crane, you will want to stretch the front body to lengthen the muscles across the front of the shoulder, chest and abdomen. Stretching the inner thighs and front of the pelvis/hips is the other way to release the muscles worked in the crow and crane pose. 

Backbends are a great counter pose to crow as back bending opens the chest, abdomen, and front of the pelvis/hips. A backbend will release and lengthen the muscles that worked to bring you into the arm balance. 

Poses to come into after crow:
  1. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge) – or a supported bridge with a block under the sacrum.
  2. Supta Virasana (reclined hero)
  3. Matsyasana (fish) – or supported fish using blocks or a bolster
  4. Supta Buddha Konasana (reclined bound angle) 
  5. Ustrasana (camel pose) 
Take Nourished Hatha Yoga after your crow pose play!

This class features front body opening to lengthen the muscles at the pelvis and chest.

Beginners Tips for Crow Pose

  • Place a cushion (flat pillow or a blanket) in front of your face, so you have a little extra padding should you fall. Or, practice outside on the grass where it is softer. 
  • Take the same shape on your back, on a different plane, to put the shape in your body. Use your core strength to hug your knees toward your armpits, draw the belly in, and press your palms toward the sky.
  • Use blocks to help get your hips higher than your shoulders. 
  • Place your knees a little outside your arms and hug inwards. The traditional way to do crow is with the knees in the armpit at the back of the arm. This tends to create bruising and can be uncomfortable in the beginning. Cheat a little by placing your legs around your arm and hug in and up.


Resources for Further Learning

Keep practicing—take a class from the Arm Balancing Collection on the Practice with Clara Apps. 

Classes for advanced yoga practitioners: 

  1. Drishti (60-min) Vinyasa features a crow pose into a tripod headstand. 
  2. So Hum (60-min) Vinyasa features the use of a block between the thighs to build strength in the deep core stabilizers. 
  3. New Chapter (60-min) Vinyasa features a crow pose into Eka Pada Koundinyasana A (flying splits).
  4. Crazy Eights (60-min) Vinyasa features a dynamic vinyasa practice with Crazy Eights moving from Koundinyasana II (flying splits), Astavakrasana (eight angle), and Surya Yantrasana (compass) as the peak postures.

Peak Yoga Postures and Sequencing
for Teachers and Students

Discover how to sequence to peak yoga postures and flows in the 300 Hour Teacher Training Program with Clara.

This training is VIRTUAL and for aspiring teachers and advanced practitioners that are curious about the holistic science of vinyasa yoga. 

Accredited by Yoga Alliance.
The 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training is broken up into 3 modules.
*You must have a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training certificate to participate in the first two modules.*
The third module is OPEN to anyone who would like to explore the more esoteric aspects of the practice.

Module 1: Creation

Module 2: Sustaining

Module 3: Transforming

**We only take 12 people for the program/per module**
—for you to learn in an intimate setting

What You Receive with a Practice with Clara Membership:

New Members: Try a Free Yoga Class on Practice with Clara



Join Practice with Clara

New members get
7-days FREE!

Sign up for a recurring subscription and get access to hundreds of different yoga classes and join the weekly LIVE yoga class.

Social Media

Most Popular

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.
On Key

Related Posts

Can Restrictions Set You Free?

  Springtime is here and it’s a great time to clear away the lethargy of winter.  I started a cleanse today. It’s a 3-day kitchari

Lose Yourself In the Act

  “Once you’ve decided as best as you can [on what you’re going to do], you act, keeping in mind that you are not the

Owning My Space & Place

We’re coming up to one of my favorite “holidays” of the year, March 8th, International Women’s Day. My father taught me that, March 8th is

Eat & Think. Think & Eat.

Friday night.I’ve been sitting off and on since 6:45am this morning.What have I been doing?This and that.That and those.Drink water.Stand up.Start one task – which

The Subtle Body
Workshop Series

2-hour worshops on pranayama, meditation, and mantra.

Fall 2023

Join Clara for Meditation Monday

Mondays at 8-8:20pm PST 

Live on Zoom – Free for everyone!



Join a FREE Yoga Series

7-Day Yoga Series for Beginners
7-Day Yoga Series for Vinyasa Lovers

Join me for an experiential practice!

My favourite thing about yoga is getting to watch people have a connection with themselves.


Yoga at Home

Reaffirm your commitment to a home yoga practice!

Read our post on how to set up a home yoga studio and the benefits of joining the Class of the Day.

Join the Community

Our community boasts yogis from countries all over the world who gather and co-create the spaces we share on the Practice with Clara platform.

Join a community of over 1.3k yogis from around the world in the Practice with Clara Facebook Group

· Share your feedback

· Seek help and motivation from the community

· Discuss and receive input on yoga challenges and injuries

· Cultivate a global community

· Exclusive access to content and upcoming events

· Bring your ideas and questions to the Practice with Clara Ambassadors 

Take a LIVE yoga class with Clara each week and join hundreds of yogis worldwide. 

· Ask Clara questions in the live Q&A after class

· Participate in a class with Clara and the community

· Put in your request for a specific class

· Build to a peak pose in a vinyasa-style sequence

· Learn modifications for injuries

· Receive how-to guides to advance your practice

See the History of Our 30-Day Yoga Challenges 

Take a look at the past 30-day yoga challenges. 

Read the history of the 30-day challenges with the past partnerships, themes, interviews with professionals, and more. 

Join an Upcoming 30-Day Yoga Challenge

See when the next 30-day yoga challenge is hosted to join the LIVE yoga & meditation classes.

Check out the events page to learn more. 

Are you looking for more opportunities to practice yoga, for free? 

Check out our Free Yoga page to see the latest offerings. 

Choose from three unique, free, offerings: 

30-day challenge
7-day series for beginners
7-day series for advanced vinyasa yogis 

Explore Yoga Teacher Training Options 

Learn to teach LILA FLOW YOGA with our free eBook!

The key to advancing your vinyasa practice and teaching style.

This workbook provides five written class sequences for you to experience a version of Wave Theory as designed by Clara Roberts-Oss, founder of the Practice with Clara Program.

✧ Community Feedback ✧

vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga

✧ Frequently Asked Questions ✧

1. What is the Practice with Clara Membership & App?

Practice with Clara is an online platform and Apps that allow you to take your yoga with you anywhere, anytime! With hundreds of classes in various styles, including Hatha, Vinyasa, Restorative, Yin, Prenatal, and Meditation, there’s something for everyone at any level of the practice. The Practice with Clara Membership provides a monthly or yearly subscription package with the first 7-days free for you to experience the courses. 

2. How is the Membership Different from the YouTube Playlists?

A membership to the Practice with Clara Apps provides:

  • Access to the members-only library of yoga classes
  • Weekly LIVE classes with Clara
  • Unique events and workshops
  • Downloadable assets including:
    • Monthly Calendars
    • Journaling Booklets
    • Spotify Playlists
  • Access to a community of yogis worldwide 
  • Q&A sessions with Clara
  • & much more!

Clara’s YouTube Channel provides carefully curated playlists to introduce you to the free programs and yoga challenges for you to get a taste of what’s offered and commit to your wellness!

3. What Do I Get When I Join the 7-Day Program?

The 7-day programs include: 

  • 7-Days of Vinyasa Yoga Intensive
  • 7-Days of Yoga for Beginners

These programs provide a weeks-worth of yoga classes to ignite your yoga practice and cultivate a new, healthy habit. 

When you sign-up for one of these programs, you’ll receive:

  • A welcome email to the program from Clara
  • A class each day for 1-week
  • Curated Spotify playlists to accompany each course
  • A calendar to track your progress
  • Access to the private Practice with Clara Facebook Group

These programs are free with no hidden costs or fees; PLUS, you’ll still receive the 7-day free trial on the Practice with Clara Apps once you complete the series!

4. What Do I Get When I Join the 30-Day Yoga Challenge?

We host quarterly 30-day yoga challenges that are always free for all members of Practice with Clara. Each yoga challenge is themed based on the season. We’ve provided our inaugural challenge, Reconnect | A 30-Day Yoga Challenge, as an email series for you to try to test your physical and mental discipline and endurance!

What you receive in Reconnect | 30-Day Challenge

  • A welcome email to the program from Clara
  • A class each day for 30-days
  • Curated Spotify playlists to accompany each course
  • A calendar to track your progress
  • A journaling booklet to incite self-reflection 
  • Access to the private Practice with Clara Facebook Group

This program is free, anytime, with no hidden costs or fees, PLUS you’ll still receive the 7-day free trial on the Practice with Clara Apps once you complete the series!

 5.  I Want to Try the App, What’s Next? 

Great, we’re so happy to have you join our community!

To set up the Practice with Clara App, here are your next steps:

6. I’m Injured, Pregnant, or New to the Practice—Can I Join?

YES, no matter where you are at in your practice, there are classes for you on Practice with Clara. 

We’ve created playlists for beginners and those who are new to the practice.

we also have the Prenatal Collections with classes from the 1st – 4th trimesters that I created when I was pregnant with my daughter. 

Finally, I offer PLENTY of modifications and suggestions based on injury in all the platform classes. 

The biggest thing is to always listen to your body; your body is the greatest teacher.

Join Practice with Clara

New members get 7-days FREE!

Sign up for a recurring subscription and get access to hundreds of different yoga classes and join the weekly LIVE yoga class.