Side Crow or Parsva Bakasana is a yoga pose that requires balance, strength, and concentration. It is a powerful arm balance that targets the core and builds strength in the arms, shoulders, and wrists. In addition to the physical benefits, Side Crow is also a great way to cultivate mental focus and inner peace. This pose is often taught in intermediate to advanced yoga classes, but with consistent practice and dedication, anyone can learn to fly in Side Crow.
One of the main benefits of Side Crow is that it requires strong core muscles to maintain balance. As you lean forward and lift your legs off the ground, your abdominal muscles engage to keep your torso stable. This strengthens the muscles of the abdomen and lower back, improving posture and reducing the risk of injury. It also helps to tone the muscles of the hips and thighs, creating a lean, strong lower body.
Another benefit of Side Crow is that it requires strong arms and shoulders to support the weight of the body. As you lift your legs off the ground, your arms work to hold your body in place. This helps to build strength in the shoulders, biceps, and triceps, as well as the muscles of the upper back. Regular practice of Side Crow can help to build upper body strength and tone the muscles of the arms and shoulders.
In addition to the physical benefits, Side Crow also helps to cultivate mental focus and inner peace. As you balance on your arms and lift your legs off the ground, you must remain calm and centered to stay in the pose. This requires a great deal of concentration and focus, which can help to quiet the mind and reduce stress and anxiety.
To get into Side Crow, start in a low squat with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on the ground in front of you. Place your hands shoulder-width apart and spread your fingers wide. Lean forward and place your knees on the back of your upper arms, just above the elbows. Engage your core muscles and lift your feet off the ground, keeping your toes pointed. Hold the pose for several breaths, then release and repeat on the other side.
Side Crow is a challenging pose that requires practice and patience to master. If you are new to yoga or have never tried Side Crow before, it is important to work with a qualified yoga teacher who can help you learn the proper alignment and technique. With consistent practice, you can build strength and confidence in Side Crow and enjoy the many benefits that this powerful pose has to offer.
Core Work and Twist:
Core work is an important part of any yoga practice, as it helps to strengthen the muscles of the abdomen and lower back. When combined with twists, core work can help to improve digestion and relieve stress and tension in the body.
One effective core and twist sequence is the Kundalini cross-legged sitting twist with breath of fire. This sequence starts in a comfortable seated position with the legs crossed and the hands resting on the knees. Begin by taking several deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.
Skull Radiance or Breath of Fire/Kapalabhati is another pranayama technique that can help you prepare for Side Crow. This rapid style of pranayama creates an internal rhythmic massage that stimulates the circulation of cerebral fluid and influences the compression and decompression in the spine and brain. It heats the nasal passages and sinuses, clearing away excess mucus, helping build up resistance to colds and respiratory disorders.
After warming up your body, you can move into the Side Crow pose sequence. Begin with a Chair/Utkatasana pose, then lie on your back and do some bicycle crunches. Move into Boat/Navasana, hold for five breaths, then cross your legs and lift your butt off the floor for one breath. Move into Boat/Navasana twisting, holding for five breaths on each side. Return to Chair/Utkatasana and then move into a standing forward fold/Uttanasana. From here, move into a one-legged dog pose to Plank, exhaling and twisting three times. Move into Downward Dog/Adho Mukha Svanasana and then lunge forward, moving into Warrior 2/Virabhadrasana and Side angle pose/Utthita Parsvakonasana. Finish this round with a vinyasa and repeat on the other side.
In Round 2, after Warrior 2, add Triangle/Trikonasana with a little crunch and windmill arms, standing twisted Crescent lunge/Parivrtta Ashtachandrasana. Bring one arm behind the back and the other up for a low twisting Prayer Lunge/Parivṛtta Aṅjaneyāsana. Step forward with your leg forward into twisting Chair/Parivṛtta Utkaṭāsana and move into Side Crow/Parsva Bakasana. Finish this round with a vinyasa and repeat on the other side.
In Round 3, repeat the flow until twisting Prayer Chair. Then, grab your feet and stand tall into a revolved hand to big toe pose. Move into Standing split/Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana, handstand hop, and standing split. Finish this round with a vinyasa and repeat on the other side. Finally, move into Pigeon pose/Kapotasana.
In addition to the physical benefits of Side Crow and the warm-up sequences, it is also important to focus on the mental benefits of yoga. Train your eyes to see the bright side of everything and think positively. Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, and your values become your destiny.
Chanting the ONG NAMO mantra can also be beneficial for your yoga practice. This mantra means “I bow to the Creative Wisdom, I bow to the Divine Teacher within.” It connects you to the universal insights of the community of Kundalini teachers and students, also known as the golden chain. By chanting this mantra, we tap into the wisdom and power of the universe and connect with the divine teacher within ourselves. The ONG NAMO mantra, also known as the Adi Mantra, is a powerful tool for spiritual growth and transformation.