Fitness

From Face-plant to Crow: Conquering the Pose

The crow and I have had a long tumultuous relationship and thankfully we’ve finally come to a mutual understanding of one another.

It all started once upon a time ago when I had morning dates in my living room with Tony Horton rocking out to P90x and high-fiving myself when I finally mastered the corncob pull-up without the chair assist. At that point in time, I wasn’t really into yoga. Then on Day 4 of the program, I saw it… the crow pose.

Tony and his cohorts introduced me to the crow pose on yoga Thursdays. I remember Tony lifting into this beautiful pose effortlessly while I stared wide-eyed into the TV screen wondering how the hell he just did what he did.  Tony told me (yes, he was speaking to me directly….through the tube, but whatever), try to get one toe off the ground and then the other. So, I did as I was told.

First attempt… face-plant on the floor.
Second attempt….head-butt the floor.
Third attempt…bloody lip (ok not really, but you get my struggle).

After countless “yoga Thursday” sessions with Tony, I was finally able to crow.  It was only for like 2 seconds. Also, it looked more like I was in starting position to play leap frog, but I was up!

For the next few sessions, the crow and I were mad at each other because we didn’t understand what the other was doing. I was mad at the crow because I wanted it to look perfect. It was mad at me because I wasn’t doing it any justice. I didn’t understand that my knees should’ve been pressing into the back of my triceps. Instead, I was wrapping my knees on the outside of my elbows and squeezing my thighs together to hold on for dear life!

After YouTubing the shit out of the “crow pose”, I was finally able to gain enough knowledge and courage to take flight. The exact moment of when my crow got its wings was when I finally understood that I should lift my tailbone up, look out (not down), and shift forward until I “fell into balance”.

After the long battle with my new best friend, Mr. Crow, I want to share my favorite ways to conquer this pose.

  1. From malasana: the squat
    • Start in a deep yoga squat. Your feet should point out slightly.
    • Put your hands in front of you about shoulder-width apart with your fingers spread out wide.
    • Tuck your knees in as close as possible to your armpits. They may rest comfortably on your triceps and that is perfectly fine.
    • Lift your tailbone up and shift your weight forward towards your fingertips.
    • Keep your gaze fixed to the front (not down)
    • Float your toes up into the air and continue to engage your core to really pull your knees in as close to your armpits as possible.
  2. Jumping from adho mukha svanasana: downward facing dog. I was all over the damn place with this one, but once you master it, it’s a ton of fun and it gets you energized!
    • Start in downward facing dog position and make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart
    • Keep your eyes up and gaze forward
    • Jump up with your feet and press away from the floor
    • Float your knees into the air above your elbows
    • Lower yourself down with control onto your triceps

       

  3. From sirsasana: tripod headstand. I struggled a ton with this one simply because I couldn’t quite get my head off the ground after bringing my legs into position. However, after much much practice, I was finally able to push myself from the headstand to the crow. On days that I’m tired, this is still a challenge for me. Here are my steps…
    • Start from the tripod headstand with your legs straight and feet together.
    • Bend your knees and bring your legs toward you while squeezing your thighs together
    • Once your knees are close to your armpits or triceps, you’ll want to separate your knees while keeping your feet together.
    • With control, slowly bring your knees down to land gently on your arms. You’ll have to really engage your core strength to do this without crashing down like a ton of bricks.
    • Shift some of your weight to your bottom and you’ll feel your head get lighter.
    • Use your upper-body strength to push the palms of your hands into the ground in order to elevate your head off the mat.
    • Once your head is off the mat, you can then find your focal point and fully engage in all of the elements of the pose.

As you can see, I’ve shared some videos showing my attempts. My crow is far from perfect, but it has also come a long way. Hopefully, you’ll find my suggestions helpful…or if nothing else, found humor in my love-hate relationship with Mr. Crow.

For those trying to conquer this pose for the first time, I encourage you to practice with pillows, towels, blankets, your dog, or anything soft to catch you just in case you end up going down face first like I did.

Now it’s your turn, my friends, comment and tell me how you conquered the face-plant, I mean the crow!

Until next time….

Angie

Follow me on Instagram: @angiemar78

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