If you’re looking to master crow pose, use these 10 simple exercises to build strength in all the right places and help you achieve that perfect balance.
Advanced poses like handstands and crow are challenging because you’re holding your entire body up by your hands! While it might seem near impossible, here’s the secret: It’s all about strengthening your forearms. When you build up your forearm muscles, you can lean into your fingertips and find balance.
Understanding where to put your weight is another key point. For arm balances, it helps to move the weight out of the heel of the hand and onto the metacarpophalangeal joint, which is at the top of the palm, at the base of the fingers. When you actively press your fingers down into the ground, you’ll activate the forearms to bring your weight out of the wrist joint.
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In the exercises below, you will hear a lot about spreading the fingers wide, gripping the ground with your fingertips and leaning into the fingers. Once you gain awareness as to how these muscles work, the balancing part will come much more naturally.
If it’s your goal to get to crow pose, grab a yoga mat and keep at these exercises daily. Take it slow, and don’t get discouraged – you’ll be balancing in no time.
Active Child’s Pose | 5 breaths
- Start in a tabletop position. Widen your knees and send your hips back and down onto your heels. Your arms should be shoulder width apart and straight. Spread your fingers wide and grip the ground with your fingertips, keeping the palms of your hands on the ground.
- Hug your legs towards each other but without actually moving your knees. Feel your inner thighs activate.
- Continue holding this activation for 5 breaths, pressing down into your hands and hugging in the legs at the same time.
Cat-Cow Pose | 5 reps
- Come to a tabletop position. Spread your fingers wide and grip the mat with your fingertips.
- Inhale to look up, dropping your belly towards the ground.
- Exhale to round the back and look at your navel.
- Continue moving with your breath for 5 full reps.
Hand Push-Ups | 10 reps
- Remain in tabletop with fingers spread wide. This time, bring your shoulders slightly behind the wrists so you don’t have as much weight on your hands.
- Press down into the hands to elevate the heel of the hand off the ground. You should feel your forearm muscles engage.
- Lower the heel of your hand back down to the ground.
- Repeat the lifts for 10 reps.
Tip: For more of a challenge, you can bring your shoulders more over your wrists. If you need less weight, move your shoulders back.
Table Top Leans | 5 reps
- Remain in tabletop, making sure your hands are right underneath your shoulders. Spread your fingertips wide with index fingers facing straight ahead.
- Lean forward, so your bodyweight is in your hands. Resist by pushing down into the ground with your hands and fingers.
- Push your weight back by using the strength of your hands.
- Repeat this lean for 5 rounds.
Downward-Facing Dog | 5 breaths
- Start in your tabletop position with your hands underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips.
- Tuck your toes and arch the lower back, creating a backbend in the spine. Spread your fingers wide and grip the ground.
- Press down into your hands and send the hips back and up, coming into downward-facing dog. Straighten your arms all the way and stay active in the arms and hands.
- Hold for 5 breaths.
Tip: For an added challenge, try to lift the heel of the hand off the ground while in your downward-facing dog.
Plank Pose Leans | 5 reps
- Start in tabletop position. Then, step one foot back at a time and squeeze your legs, ankles, and feet together.
- Round your upper back and active your abdominals. Fingers should be spread apart and active. Keep your arms straight and lean your body weight into your fingers.
- Strongly resist the lean and push your weight back over your feet.
- Repeat for 5 reps.
Low Lunge | 5 breaths per side
- Start in plank pose.
- Step your right foot to the outside of your right hand, connecting the arm and inner leg together. Your knee should be right over your heel, back leg straight.
- Straighten your arms and activate your hands.
- Press your front leg into your upper arm to feel your inner thigh activate as you did in child’s pose earlier.
- Hold for 5 breaths, then switch sides.
Knee to Tricep | 5 breaths per side
- Start in your downward-facing dog with hands activated and arms straight.
- On an inhale, extend the right leg back and up. Exhale to bend the knee, round your upper back, activate the abs and bring your shoulders over your hands. Try to touch your tricep muscle with your knee.
- Keep hugging everything in towards the center of the body and hold for 5 slow breaths.
- Switch sides.
Malasana Squat | 5 breaths
- Start in a standing position with your feet turned out slightly. Bend your knees and send your hips down as low as possible.
- Bring your palms to touch at heart center and use your elbows to press into your thighs. Press your legs right back into your arms to feel your inner thighs activate.
- Lengthen your torso, keeping everything hugging inward. Stay here for 5 deep breaths.
Modified Crow | 5 reps
- Start in your malasana squat pose and place your hands on the ground, shoulder width apart.
- Spread your fingers wide with the index fingers facing forward. Keeping the hands and arms where they are, lift the hips up to shoulder height and engage your core muscles.
- Place the inner knees as high up onto the upper arms as they will go. Press the legs into the arms and lift the heels off the ground, coming onto the balls of the feet.
- Bend the elbows slightly and lean forward into your active fingers. Resist the lean by pressing the hands back down into the ground. Then push your weight back onto your feet.
- Repeat these leans for 5 reps.