Flying Crow Pose - Eka Pada Galavasana

Flying Crow - Eka Pada Galavasana
Flying Crow - Eka Pada Galavasana. Ann Pizer

Type of Pose: Arm Balance

Benefits: Increases arm strength, core strength, and balance. Opens the hips.

Instructions:

1. Begin standing with your knees bent in awkward chair - utkatasana.

2. Bring your hands to anjali mudra at your heart. Shift your weight to your left foot. Lift your right foot off the ground.

3. Keeping both knees bent, cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Place the ankle just above your left knee.

4. Begin to come into a forward bend over your right shin. Bend your left leg enough that you can bring your palms flat to the floor.

5. Hook the toes of your right foot around your upper left arm. Keep the right foot strongly flexed and the toes tightly hugging the arm.

6. Bend both elbows, coming into chaturanga arms to make a shelf for your right shin.

7. Lean your torso forward, resting your right shin on your upper arms. Lift your left foot off the floor. Keep your knee bent at first.

8. Bring even more weight forward as you straighten your left leg behind you. Keep the left foot off the floor the whole time.

9. Flex your left foot strongly as you continue to hug the right foot to your upper arm.

10. Lower down with control. You can try to draw your left foot back to the front of your mat and reverse your path into the pose by moving back through utkatasana to standing.

11. Repeat on the other side.

Beginners' Tips:

if you're not at the point where this pose makes sense, doing a few preparatory poses instead. Flying crow requires the hip flexibility of pigeon and the balance technique of crow, so these are two poses to focus on. Mastering crow in particular is the key to many more advanced arm balances.

You really have to figure out how to get both feet off the floor without tipping forward before you can move on. 

Advanced Tips:

People often get stuck on step 7, unable to straighten their back leg and keep it off the floor at the same time. In order to get to this point it is crucial to keep your head up and your body weight moving forward. Allowing your head to drop creates a powerful pull toward the floor, which you don't want. The weight of your torso needs to stay forward to balance out the weight of your back leg like a scale. Arm balances often look like a lot of arm strength, but are really more about figuring out how to control your center of gravity through your core.

If you feel comfortable balancing in flying crow, you can try to lift your back leg higher. Jumping back to chaturanga and taking a vinyasa between sides is another way to make this pose more challenging. 

Continue Reading