Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Bakasana is an asana in which the performer needs to perform the asana or pose assuming the pose of a crane. Therefore this asana is called Bakasana or Crane Pose.
Bakasana – Crane Pose
Baka = Crane
Asana = Pose, Posture
Kakasana – Some consider both Kakasana and Bakasana to be one and the same, while some others consider that Kakasana is an extension of varied form of Bakasana. Kaka means crow, Asana means pose or stance. In this pose, one takes the shape of a perched crow while performing the asana. There is only a small difference between both these asanas.
In the Bakasana, if you keep your arms slightly bend, so that the knees come close to the triceps muscles (muscles on the back of your arm) it is Kakasana.
Preparation for Bakasana
- One should do the Bakasana or Kakasana on empty stomach. For this one should take the food 4-6 hours before performing or starting this asana. This means to tell that the performer should do the asana 4-6 hours after consuming food so that his food is digested in that time gap. The energy derived from the consumed food can be expended on the asana.
- At the same time one should also remember that his or her bowel and bladder should be emptied and kept clean and clear before beginning this asana.
- It is always preferred to perform this asana in the early and serene hours of the morning. But you can alternatively practice the asana in the evening if you have missed out doing it in the morning due to busy and unavoidable schedules.
Method of doing Bakasana
Positioning for the Asana
- Come to the Tadasana or Mountain pose, which is the starting point from where you can progress to do the Bakasana.
- Keep your feet close together.
- Place your hands firmly on the floor.
- Ensure that your hands are shoulder width apart
- Alternatively you can start with squatting position or Malasana. While in this pose, place your hands firmly on the floor as said above.
Getting to the Bakasana
- By pressing the floor with both your hands, slowly lift your hips and make sure that your core muscles are engaged as your knee joints come closer to your triceps muscles. (If you are doing Kakasana, make a shelf with your upper arms as you bend your elbows, the arms making an angle with forearms).
- Now look forward and gently lift your feet off the floor.
- Shift your body weight on your arms.
- Hold this pose for few seconds.
- Straighten your arms to come into Crane pose. (If you keep your elbow flexed and tuck your knee joints in the shelf formed between the arm and forearm, it becomes Kakasana).
Release from the asana and coming back to the point of start
- Hold in this pose for about one minute.
- Slowly bring down your feet and ground them.
- Slowly rise to the standing position and come back to Tadasana, the same point at which you had begun the asana.
- Alternatively, come back to Malasana or finish off the asana by assuming Uttanasana.
Tips for Beginners
Keep butts and heels close together while in this pose. When you ready to push your feet into the air, off the floor, press the upper part of your arms against the shins. Pull your groin into the pelvis so that you can lift your pelvis easily into the air.
Advanced pose (variation of Bakasana)
- Bakasana is an advanced pose of Kakasana, which entails straightening your arms while you are in the asana. In Kakasana, you flex your elbow. Bakasana is the full pose. It is possible that you hurt your wrists while doing this pose. To take off some pressure from your wrists, you could curl your fingers on the floor instead of spreading your fingers.
Purva and Paschat Asanas
Purva Asanas (Preparatory Asanas)
Before Kakasana, you can do any of the below mentioned Asanas –
Paschat Asanas (Post-Bakasana Poses)
After performing Bakasana / Kakasana, one can perform –
- Adho Mukha Shwanasana
- Chaturanga Dandasana
- Plank Pose
Duration, health benefits
What time should be spent in the pose while doing Bakasana / Kakasana?
One can stay in Kakasana for 30-60 seconds at a stretch. It stretches the upper back and strengthens the wrists, abdomen and arms.
Health Benefits of Bakasana / Kakasana
- It strengthens the wrists and arms
- It tones and strengthens the spine
- It gives a good stretch to the upper back
- It strengthens your inner thighs
- It opens up your groins in an effective way.
- This asana tones up and strengthens the abdomen and abdominal muscles and organs. In this way this asana aids digestion.
- This asana improves your sense of balance and focus.
- This asana prepares your body and mind for challenges.
- With regular practice, Bakasana / Kakasana provides you immense strength and confidence.
Effect of Bakasana – Ayurveda details-
Effect on Doshas
Effect on Doshas and Subtypes
Kakasana have balancing effect on Prana and Udana Vayus. By doing so, the asanas provide good strength to the mind enhances your mind strength, balance and wards off the stress. It keeps the body and mind happy.
These asanas balance the Samana Vayu and Pachaka Pitta, aids digestion of food.
Effect on Dhatus
Effect of Bakasana on Dhatus –
Kakasana provide strength to mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue) and asthi dhatu (bones) and soft tissues i.e. snayu (ligaments) and kandaras (tendons) fo the wrists, arms, spine and makes them flexible. These asanas also strengthen the mamsa dhatu of the abdomen.
Kakasana, what they promise!
Baka – crane is an Asian symbol for happiness and youthfulness. In Chinese symbolism, the crane stands for longevity. This asana is the culmination of all these three symbols. Practicing Kakasana will ensure happiness, youthfulness and longevity. It takes a leap of faith to get into this asana. But once you do this asana, you will start feeling light and joyful. This pose will renew your approach and attitude towards your life.
You need good and very strong arms to lift your entire body high up in the air, balancing on your hands, while doing Bakasana. This is a tough and very dynamic pose. You may have the fear of falling on your face while doing this asana. First of all before commencing this asana you need to overcome this fear of falling flat. For this, take a deep breathe, let go off all your apprehensions and take that leap of faith in the air, by lifting your body while balancing the entire body on your hands while in this asana.
You will also need to have a strong foundation. This foundation is provided by your strong core muscles. The strong muscles will help you to take a lift in the air and maneuver your knees and enable you to bring them closer to your upper arms. It will also allow you to remain light throughout the asana. This will help you to take off your weight and burden off your wrists since your body will be light.
You will need strong shoulders and arms to support the weight of your body. You will also need flexible hips.
Very important is that you should be physically and mentally prepared to do these asanas.
Impact on Chakras
Kakasana affects, strengthens and stretches the neck and shoulder girdle; therefore it activates Anahata Chakra (Heart Chakra) and Vishuddha Chakra (Throat chakra).
It also balances the Swadishtana Chakra, which aids our connection and ability to accept others and new experiences. Crow pose connects us to our feelings, emotions and creative energy by balancing the above said chakras.
Contraindications and precautions
Who should not do? (Contraindications and precautions for doing Bakasana)
Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Kakasana –
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Wrist injury or chronic wrist pain
Avoid it if you are a pregnant
Just Before Finish
Bakasana is good workout to strengthen your shoulders, spine, back, wrists, arms and thighs effectively. It also strengthens the mind and helps you to be balanced and controlled.
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