In honor of Halloween I decided to write a blog breaking down Crow Pose and Handstand because these are poses that typically scare people. This post is going to teach you how you can conquer your fears and nail these poses. Let’s get into it!
This is a pose where eventually one day you’re not going to be scared anymore, your body is going to give you more ‘umph, and your feet will smack the wall as you lift yourself up, you’re going to freak out that you did it and come down immediately 😂 I know this because this was my first experience ever doing a handstand, and I’ve watched my students have this exact same experience for their first handstands. The lightness you feel once those hips finally get over your shoulders is super freaky and most people are like OMG WHAT JUST HAPPENED and they come down.
But, until this happens, you have to convince your body and mind not to be scared anymore. One way to do this is to just take little hops in your handstands until you feel like you can maybe put more ‘umph into your hop and get a little higher, and then a little higher and then maybe one day you get all the way up.
Another really great tool that I like to use to conquer the fear of being upside down is to do an L Shaped handstand against the wall. This is going to help you get your hips in line with your shoulders and give your brain a chance to understand what it’s like to be upside down and vertical in this way, with your hands and feet still touching something. This gives our body a bit of a sense of safety more than just having our legs up in the air. Here’s what that looks like:
Make sure you’re pressing through the floor with your hands. Make sure you’re actually in an L here. If you try this and you have someone nearby, have them tell you whether or not you should walk your feet down the wall or have your hands closer to the wall. Often times people end up totally vertical or they’re more in a plank. Try to bend at your hips and stack your hips over your shoulders for that L shape.
A good rule of thumb of where your hands should go is if you measure the distance of your leg away from the wall, and then you turn around and place your hands directly where your feet are, you’ll be able to find the L a little easier.
This pose will also help you build strength in your upper body and core so you can feel more confident as you kick up into handstand. Once you feel confident in L shape give kicking up another go!
This is one of the top poses I see where fear stops people and not their strength like they think. Everyone always tells me that they’re not strong enough to do crow pose, but then I see them doing chaturangas (aka a pushup). If you can do a chaturanga you can do a crow easily. Even if you’re still working on your chaturanga, you may still be able to do crow – I’ve seen it!
I often see 2 major issues for people when they’re trying to do crow.
If your knees land near your elbows when you get into the initial position for crow, try standing on a block like I’m doing in the video below. This is going to help you get your knees higher up on your arms, which will set you up for success as you shift into your hands.
The other, and most common mistake (and this is a mistake – the knees on the arms is just a problem some people face) is that people do not go far enough forwards. They stop when their shoulders line up with their wrists, but you need to move your shoulders past your FINGERS. You are so far forwards in crow pose, which is why it’s scary for people.
SO to actually conquer these fears, put a stack of pillows in front of your face so you don’t feel like you’re going to slam into the hard floor 😂
And then play with just shifting your weight into your hands. Move your shoulders so far forwards that the majority of your weight is in your arms and hands. Go so far forwards that you’re barely even on your toes. And then do it again and again and again. Get comfortable with being this far forwards while still keeping your tippy toes on the floor. Here’s a quick video:
Once this feels comfortable you can play with lifting one foot up, and then the other. Go so far forwards that your feet are barely even on the ground, and then move your shoulders just a hair further forwards and your feet will just lift up without you having to do anything.
Then press the floor away from you and think of spreading your shoulder blades and then that’s it! You’re flying!
Give these tips a try and let me know how they go. If you’re still struggling with these poses then head over to my online yoga studio and become a member. I break these poses down even further, and you’ll get some free zoom classes with your membership that will allow me to teach you directly on the spot and help you nail your handstands and crows.
As always, reach out if you have any questions. Let me know how this goes and if you’re facing any other struggles with these two poses. Let me know how I can help you conquer your fears and nail your next arm balance!
Till next time,