You may or may never find your way into this pose. It’’s the journey that counts, and the wisdom gained and then applied that matters. The lessons I have learned from Bakasana are many. and my journey through triumph and failure over the past 17- years of practice is humbling.
Like many who practice yoga, I too , love the “yoga glow”, the feelings of radiant confidence and vital energy it brings and the relaxed calm that pours over me after practice.
Nailing a hard-to-master pose can be very empowering or ego- enhancing so its how we approach each pose and integrate its wisdom that brings the greatest reward.
Bakasana asks that you have patience to build from the ground up a solid foundation upon which you can take flight. When you stand on your hands you are asked to see things from a new perspective and the unknown can be scary.
Hence, Bakasana asks you to be brave, move forward with an open heart, go beyond what you thought possible and fly. There are many key factors that make this pose possible; stable shoulders, strong core, deep hip flexion and external rotation, a flexible spine and balance.
All these elements must be coordinated with mental clarity and an intelligent use of breath. That’s not asking too much, is it? Often, people would rather throw caution to the wind and “just do it”.
That’s not a calculated risk, not smart and could cost you your joint health in the long run. Instead, take the time to strengthen where you are weak and relax where you are tight. Here is how to get started.
Make sure you are warmed up and are proficient in the following poses: A version of pigeon pose to open and strengthen your hips, Chatturanga, planks and push-ups to warm up your arms, easy stretches for wrist mobility, core exercises that get your abdominals fired up, forward folds like bound angle to deepen spinal flexion and Malasana, deep squat that is similar to Baksana without the baring weight.
Now you are ready. Come into Malasana, slide your hands under your shoulders and your elbows under your shins. Try to get your knees high up on your arm bones while keeping your chest open.
Round your spine as you tuck your tailbone under. Draw your belly in deeply and squeeze your heels toward your hips. At first keep your elbows bent so you can balance your knees on your arms.
Eventually with enough core and shoulder strength and as you figure out your balance you will be able to straighten your arms in the “full expression” of the pose.
Remember it’s not the pose but the energy you cultivate from the pose. Enjoy the energy it brings, breathe it in then let it go.
“Bakasana clearly demonstrates that when we move beyond our fear there is a great joy waiting just on the other side. What if you fall? No my dear, what if you fly!?”
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