5 Common Mistakes in Crow Pose (And How to Fix Them!)

by Nomad Yoga

Crow pose (bakasana) is everyone’s favorite party trick. It’s a really fun and empowering arm balancing yoga pose that is in no way easy to master. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to figure out how to practice!

There are some simple tips for crow pose that can make a world of difference to your practice if you take them into consideration. But some of the most important aspects of the pose are often overlooked in the heat of the moment.

In particular, there are a few common mistakes that show up time and time again. Look out for these easy-to-fix mistakes in your bakasana, and you'll be flying in no time!

Ready to take your arm balances to the next level? Practice Take Flight with Leah Sugerman

These Are 5 of the Most Common Mistakes in Crow Pose (And How You Can Fix Them to Fly With Ease):

These five common errors in bakasana will drastically affect your ability to hold the pose. But, luckily, there are simple fixes you can practice that will enable you to soar in no time!

1. You’re Not Stabilizing Your Shoulder Girdle

Yoga teacher dressed in all black seated with her arms stretched in front of her against a white backdrop

One of the most common mistakes in bakasana, is a complete lack of shoulder stability. So many practitioners just want to jump into the “cool” poses without laying the groundwork for them.

So, often yogis practice crow pose without any stability at all in their shoulder girdles. This is unfortunate because, after all, crow pose is an arm balance, and therefore, requires the arms to be stabilized to support the shape.

Without shoulder integration and stability, your foundation in crow pose is doomed before you even lift your feet off the floor.

How to Fix It:

  • Plant your hands roughly shoulder-width apart and spread your fingers wide
  • Actively press the floor away from you until your upper back rounds slightly
  • Plug your upper arm bones down and in toward your shoulder sockets
  • Without movement, energetically squeeze your arms toward each other
  • Ever so slightly, broaden your chest
  • Feel your entire shoulder complex activated

2. Your Hips Are Too Low

Yoga teacher dressed in all black folded forward with her hands on the floor and her hips high while on her tip toes against a white backdrop

Another really common mistake in crow pose is allowing your hips to sink down toward the floor. This allows the pull of gravity to move you downward, which is the exact opposite action of what you want to happen in any arm balance.

In bakasana, you want to think about resisting gravity and lifting up rather than going down with its continuous pull. The higher your hips elevate (and the more your muscles engage there), the easier it will be to maintain your body weight floating against the force of gravity.

How to Fix It:

  • Walk your knees as high up your arms as possible toward your armpits
  • Lift your hips high toward the sky
  • Keep your hips elevated even as your feet lift off the floor
  • Think about elevating away from the floor rather than lowering down toward it

Unsure where to start? These 7 Prep Poses Will Help You Build the Strength to Master Crow Pose in No Time

3. You’re Not Hugging Inward

Yoga teacher dressed in all black folded forward with her hands on the floor and her knees on her upper arms while on her tip toes against a white backdrop

Many yoga instructors teach students to place their knees onto their upper arms in crow pose. However, this neglects a key group of muscles that are crucial to stabilizing arm balances: the adductors.

The adductors run along the inner thighs and adduct the legs (draw them into the midline of the body). This muscle group is critical for stabilizing the weight of the lower body when it’s lifted off the floor in crow pose, so it’s essential to position the body in such a way that these muscles can be utilized to their full capacity.

How to Fix It:

  • Place your knees around the outer edges of your arms (rather than on top of your arms)
  • Squeeze your knees in around your arms and hug in toward the midline of your body
  • Keep your legs drawing in toward your center as you lift

4. You’re Jumping

Yoga teacher dressed in all black coming into bakasana (crow pose) with one foot on the floor and her other foot lifted against a white backdrop

Contrary to popular belief, crow pose is not just about brute arm and core strength. Of course, arm and core strength is definitely needed for bakasana but there is an even more important factor: counterbalance.

Similar to yoga poses like warrior III, crow pose is all about the counterbalance of weight between the upper and lower halves of your body. In order to stabilize balance over your arms, you have to counter body weight in the opposite direction.

By trying to rush into the pose, jumping throws off all balance and diminishes the work of counterbalance.

How to Fix It:

  • Lean your weight forward in space
  • Continue to lean until you find that “magic” tipping point where your legs become weightless (keep leaning until you find this point!)
  • Without momentum, lift one foot off the floor at a time and immediately squeeze your heel toward your seat

Feeling ready to take on bakasana? Practice Flow Toward Crow Pose with Leah Sugerman

5. You’re Not Rounding Your Back

Woman yoga teacher dressed in all black practicing a yoga pose arm balance (crow pose or bakasana) against a white backdrop

This is probably the single most important aspect of crow pose that is so often overlooked.

In order to lift away from the floor and resist gravity in bakasana, you need some serious core activation. Rounding your back is one of the easiest ways to turn your core on and to lift your weight away from the floor (rather than letting it sink down with gravity).

How to Fix It:

  • Three-dimensionally "corset" your waistline and actively draw your navel in toward your spine
  • As you press the floor away with your hands, draw your shoulder blades apart from each other
  • As you elevate your hips, round your whole back deeply

Avoid These Common Mistakes to Master Bakasana

Although these mistakes are common for practitioners who are learning how to practice crow pose, they aren’t deal breakers at all. They’re actually quite easy to fix with a little bit of attention and conscious awareness.

Try to avoid these common mistakes, give these easy fixes a try, and don’t take yourself too seriously as you play and work toward mastering crow pose. You may be surprised to find yourself flying with ease in no time.

Want to try another type of flying? Practice These 8 Steps to Find Balance in Headstand

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