What is Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana) in Yoga? Tips, Technique, Correct Form, Benefits and Common Mistakes

The Side Crow Pose, or Parsva Bakasana, is an arm balance that can build physical strength in the abs, upper body and obliques.

It also challenges you to relax your shoulders and engage your core muscles by twisting and inverting your torso. It is a great way to work your anti-gravity muscles in preparation for more advanced arm balances, such as Forearm Stand and Handstand.

Learning the Side Crow is one of the best ways of familiarising yourself with the miracle (literally) of bone alignment and spinal mobility.

How to do Side Crow Yoga Pose with the correct form?

  • Squat with your feet and knees together, facing the long side of the mat.
  • Lift your left arm to the ceiling while inhaling. Exhale; twist to the right, and place both hands on the outside of your right foot on the floor.
  • Place your hands shoulder-distance apart, with the creases of your wrists parallel to each other and the mat’s edge.
  • As you get into the Chaturanga Dandasana, shift your body forward, and bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle so that your elbows stack over your wrists.
  • Roll your upper arms’ heads back and away from the floor. Place your right outer thigh on the left upper arm’s shelf. Bring your elbows together, and maintain them close to your torso.
  • Lift your feet off the floor while twisting deeply and maintaining your knees and feet stacked.
  • Lower your forehead onto a block or bolster as you lift your feet to keep your balance.
  • Hold for 3–5 breaths before lowering your feet to the ground.
  • Rep on the opposite side.

Tips & Techniques of Side Crow Yoga Pose

These suggestions will help you avoid injury and get the most out of the pose:

  • Though this position appears to rely on arm strength, your abdominals are essential for keeping you upright and avoiding excessive wrist pressure.
  • Hold the stance while twisting deeply and activating your core.
  • Set a block in front of you so that you may rest your head on it when you shift forward into the position if you feel wobbly.
  • Lift your feet off the floor, and place your forehead on a block or bolster.
  • Wrists should not be compressed. To avoid making this typical mistake, spread your fingers out as if stretching the webbing between them. Your upper body will be supported by this motion.
  • Lifting the feet off the floor one by one or all at once is a good exercise. If you have an injury to your elbow or shoulder, or if you have lower back pain, you should avoid this pose.

Benefits of Side Crow Yoga Pose

Parsva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose) is a tough twisting balancing yoga pose that prepares the body for more challenging twisting balancing yoga poses.

Furthermore, this practice prepares the mind (thoughts and emotions) to be in balance, which is critical in today’s world. Some of the benefits are:

1) Stregthens your core & arms

Stretches strengthen and lengthens the core (obliques), wrists, hands, arms, shoulders and back. They prepare the body for more challenging arm balances. such as Astavakrasana (Eight Angle Pose) and Koundinyasana Ii (One Legged Twisted Arm Balance), or other related poses.

2) Flexibility and Range of Motion

The internal and external obliques, as well as the spinal muscles, work together to twist the spine. As a result, this pose helps in developing the spine’s rotational flexibility. Those who have mastered this balanced twisting pose are encouraged to take their practice to the next level by holding the posture for longer periods.

3) Alignment and Posture

Alignment is crucial in every yoga position, especially when it comes to body balancing. Knowing where and how each body part is placed on the ground and in relation to the rest of the body is something that should be taught frequently.

Aligning the body has its own set of benefits, including preventing injury (most injuries occur while releasing from a pose), improving the flow of prana (opening the body, creating space), and, most importantly, adding an overall well-shaped physique.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

To get the most out of this pose and minimise the risk of injuries, avoid these mistakes.

  • Avoid dropping your head. You will tip forward, and lose your balance if you do so. Keep your eyes raised.
  • Your elbows must be brought in and shoulder-width apart. Allow your elbows to not splay out to either side.
  • Maintain a line between your shoulders and wrists. Otherwise, you’ll be putting too much weight on the outside of your wrists, potentially injuring yourself.

Bottom Line

There are a lot of different types of yoga poses that focus on balance. However, when you get right down to it, most of them are really just variations of a few key postures.

Among the most popular of them is the Side Crow Pose or Bakasana (in Sanskrit). The pose itself is super-challenging, so it’s important to learn the basic manoeuvres before attempting it.

While most instructions will come in the form of physical demonstrations and verbal cues, knowing what Side Crow Pose is will give you an upper hand when figuring out how to execute this challenging position.

Q. Have you tried the side crow yoga pose?