A challenging twisting version of the captivating arm balance known as Bakasana is the side crane position, commonly referred to as Parsva Bakasana (Crane Pose).
Parsva means side, flank, or oblique in Sanskrit, while Baka means crane.
All arm-balancing yoga postures need a flexible and strong body, especially in the arms and core. The addition of deep twisting with belly and back bending forwards is what distinguishes and adds appeal to this version. In other words, the abdominals on one side are touched while the obliques on the other side experience a significant strain.
Together, they contribute to delivering stability and strengthening the shoulders and hips.
In addition to being a fantastic posture for mentally strengthening the core, shoulders, arms, back, and wrists, Parsva Bakasana (Side Crane Pose) may also aid confidence, balance, and attention. It involves both physical and mental activity.
It’s interesting that such difficult asanas naturally provide a chance to foster a sense of success.
SIDE CRANE POSE STEPS:
- Squat with your feet and your knees while facing the long side of your mat.
- Take a breath in and extend your left arm upward. Take a breath, turn to the right, and place both hands on the outside of your right foot. Place your hands shoulder-distance apart with the creases of your wrists parallel to the edge of the mat and each other.
- As you move into Chaturanga Dandasana, tilt your torso forward and bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle so that they stack over your wrists. Your upper arms should be rolled back and away from the ground.
- Place your right outer thigh on the left upper arm’s shelf. Keep your elbows close to your body and draw them closer to one another.
- While maintaining your knees and feet stacked, twist profoundly and raise your feet off the ground.
- As you elevate your feet, lower your forehead into a block or bolster to stabilize your equilibrium.
- Release your feet to the ground after holding three to five breaths.
- Continue on the opposite side.
Benefits of Side Crane Pose
- Stretches, Strengthens, Lengthens:
Regular Side Crane practice helps to stretch and strengthen the core (obliques), wrists, hands, arms, shoulders, and back, preparing the body for more difficult arm balances like Astavakrasana (Eight Angle Pose) and Koundinyasana Ii (One Legged Twisted Arm Balance) or other comparable poses.
- Flexibility and range of motion:
The spinal muscles and the internal and external obliques combine to cause the twisting motion of the spine. Therefore, this position aids in increasing the spine’s flexibility in the rotational direction.
When a learner masters this balancing, twisting stance, it inspires them to hold the position for longer and further their practice. The elbows and wrists also become more flexible when the posture is held for a longer period, which can assist students in holding postures like Handstand Pose (Adho Mukha Vrksasana) or other comparable positions for longer.
- Chest, Diaphragm, and Breath:
Parsva Bakasana causes the upper chest and rib cage to experience additional strain since it twists and bends forward. Contrary to rounding the shoulders and leaving little room for the chest, drawing the chest in and broadening them will assist raise the body and maintain a proper balance.Therefore, stretching the chest, rib cage, and diaphragm with awareness can aid in better breathing by doing so both outwardly and laterally.
Better breathing helps the body become calmer and stress-free, which leads to increased flexibility and strength.These precise movements may be employed in increasingly difficult postures to help students advance their practices physically and mentally.
- Alignment and Posture:
Posture and alignment go hand in hand, especially when balancing the body.It is necessary to teach children how each bodily component is situated about the rest of the body and on the ground.
The body appears lovely when it is aligned, the flow of prana is better (opening the body, creating space), and most significantly, it contributes to an overall well-shaped body. The majority of injuries occur when one releases from the position.
- Stimulation and Organs:
The twisting motion of the abdomen in Side Crane Pose squishes the abdominal and pelvic organs, increasing blood flow to these areas and helping to some extent, maintain the health of the reproductive and digestive systems.
The practice has this extra advantage, even if yoga instructors are not likely to incorporate it to improve the operation of the internal organs.
- Balance and Emotions:
Certain positions can help us achieve a sense of balance on both a physical and emotional level. Students must pay close attention to their breathing while they engage various body parts in the side crane pose. After that, they must maintain a steady and gentle gaze. Better balance may also be achieved by being aware of the body’s center of gravity and how it interacts with the earth’s gravitational pull. This awareness encourages a continual oscillation between centering and decentering to feel more in control of the body. This promotes a tranquil condition by balancing our body, mind, breath, thoughts, and emotions.
Twists enhance deeper breathing while the increasing body and mental awareness. This is required by Parsva Bakasana, which also aids in getting the most out of the exercise.
The most significant part of yoga is its physiological benefits, in addition to the physical benefits of increased bodily strength and flexibility.
This position energizes your body by stimulating the neurological and circulatory systems in the upper limbs, lower limbs, and torso.
- Circulation and Systems:
The nerves and cells are all stimulated by better circulation, supporting the neurological system by keeping people relaxed and stress-free.
The digestive and reproductive systems and other organs benefit from the abdominal area’s compressing action. Although practicing this position is difficult, it may enhance many physical systems when done mindfully.
Therefore, it can be a method of getting the body and mind ready for meditation.
- Preparatory Pose:
Side Crane Pose is a great starting point for more difficult advanced arm balances like Eka Pada Koundinyasana I (Twist One Legged Arm Balance), Astavakrasana (Eight Angle Pose), or Koundinyasana Ii (Twisted One-Legged Arm Balance Pose II).
More advanced students can go from Tripod Headstand Pose (Sirsasana) to Side Crane Pose and vice versa.
Contraindications for the Side Crane Pose
- Injury and surgery:
This high-level position calls for a strong core, arms, and shoulders. It is suggested that practitioners constantly operate inside their comfort zone. If a student has a recent or ongoing wrist, elbow, shoulder, rib cage, hip, or back injury, they should stay away from this posture.
Any prior surgery or injury may also be harmful. Therefore, yoga instructors should inquire about their student’s medical histories.
This twisting and balancing position can exert pressure on the deep interior aching muscles in those who have had a cesarean section or undergone old hernia surgery.
Therefore, it is important to remember recent and older injuries and surgeries.
- Weakness in the body-breath connection:
To achieve the pose correctly, a practitioner must have complete awareness and coordinate breath with movement at certain key times in the position. When done with an exhale, the twisting of the back and belly is beneficial.
The core must be tucked in while looking ahead and fully aware of your breath to move the body forward and raise the feet off the mat.
If the breath and these alignments are not connected, you risk slumping out of the position. Students should avoid this challenging position if they have tennis elbows, carpal tunnel syndrome, or any other ailment that might be made worse by placing too much pressure on the nerves.
- Physical Strength and Weak Body:
Students need to have the necessary mental and physical fortitude to do this position. However, some safeguards may be taken by making these changes to assist them in appreciating the position if they attempt it for the first time or are working with their physical strength: Strength in the core, arms, and shoulders is necessary to hold this posture for longer than a few seconds. If you’re new to this posture, you might wish to prop up your feet with a yoga block or bolster.