Bakasana is termed as crane posture, since Baka means crane in Sanskrit. This is an advanced asana but a compact hand balancing asana. The focus of Bakasana is on the wrists and it strengthens the hands and abdominal organs, while stretching and increasing the flexibility of the spine.
Procedure for Bakasana
- You should assume a squatting position on a folded blanket or a yoga mat, maintaining equal distance between your knees, while keeping your feet flat on the ground. You should now place the palms of your hands between your knees flat on the floor and should maintain your knees and elbows steady at the same level.
- You should slowly bend your chest forward, while lifting both your legs carefully in such a manner that your entire body is balanced solely on your palms. When you have reached the correct position, your graze should be straight for balancing the body properly.
- You can hold this position as long as you are comfortable, preferably between 20 seconds and one minute and then return back slowly to your original position. The feet should go up and come down smoothly without any jerk.
Precautions and Contraindications for Bakasana
You should keep your neck straight in Bakasana for avoiding strains and sprains in the neck or back. People suffering from neck problems such as spondylosis should practice this asana only under the guidance of a qualified yoga master. People suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome in their wrists and pregnant women should not practice this asana.
Beginners should keep their heels and hips very close together when they tuck the body in tight. They can place the upper arms against their shins when lifting their feet off the ground for better support. The groin should be pushed into their pelvic region for better balancing. Further, it is advisable not to remain in this position for long, since the entire body weight is on the wrists and any strain can result in sprains or injuries. It is also possible that beginners will fall forward flat on their face in the initial stages. Hence, they should keep a large, thickly folded blanket on the ground that can absorb the impact of the fall. They can also use props or a partner in the beginning stages until they are comfortable on their own. If they feel pain in their wrists, they can curl their fingers inwards, which will reduce the pain.
Benefits of Bakasana
Bakasana strengthens the arms and the wrists. This asana stretches the upper back fully, increasing the elasticity and flexibility of the spine. It also tones up and strengthens all the muscles and organ in your abdominal region, while opening up your groin region. The sense of balance, coordination and balance will improve only if you practice this asana regularly.
Therapeutic Applications of Bakasana
Regular practice of Bakasana helps us in developing deeper trust in our body and mind concentration, balance and coordination, helping us in taking up new challenges in our lives. This asana creates a sense of positive thinking, while feelings of doubt and hesitation get considerably reduced. The functioning of our digestive systems gets improved substantially and problems such as acidity and heartburn get reduced.
Variation in Bakasana
The main variation in Bakasana is Parsva Bakasana or side crane posture. You should keep your knees together in this asana in the squatting position, as opposed to keeping them apart in normal Bakasana. You should exhale and turn your chest to the right and brace your left elbow to the outer portion of your right knee. Your upper arm should be very close to the armpit and the knee should be firm against your arm. You should place your hands on the ground with the palms flat and pressed to the ground. You should lift your feet while exhaling and leaning towards the right. The arms should remain as straight as possible. You can hold this position for about 30 seconds, return back to the original position and repeat it on the left side in the same manner. Parsva Bakasana is an intense asana requiring lots of practice and balance. It is an advanced asana and only highly trained yoga practitioners should attempt and get perfection in this asana.
Preparatory and Follow-Up Asanas for Bakasana
The preparatory asanas for Bakasana are Virasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana and Baddha Konasana, while the follow-up asanas are Chaturanga Dandasana and Adho Mukha Svanasana.