Benefits: In this posture, the whole weight of the body rests on the hands. This strengthens the wrists, arms, shoulders, and abdominal muscles. It requires concentration and, in helping us conquer the fear of falling forward, builds confidence in other areas of our life.
Contraindications (cautions): Carpal tunnel syndrome or pregnancy.
Step by Step
1. Stand in Tadasana, Mountain Pose. Squat down and place the hands flat on the floor, shoulder width apart, and about 10 inches (25cm) in front of the feet, with the middle fingers pointing forward. With the feet close together, come onto tiptoes, widen the knees and bend the elbows. Lift the heels higher and bring your weight forward to place the knees on the upper arms as close to the armpits as possible. Continue to press the knees against the upper arms.
2. Slowly lean forward, transferring your body weight from the feet to the hands. Trust in the support of your arms as you let your face move forward. Once the weight is in the hands, lift the feet up and balance with elbows bent. Keep the feet together. To develop the wrist muscles and protect the wrists, “claw” the ground with the fingertips (to lighten, use blocks under the hands). Keep gazing ahead (without compressing the neck) and scoop the belly in. This is Crow (or Crane) posture. Stay here for five to ten breaths. If you are not ready to lift the feet, practice transferring weight back and forth from toes to palms.
3. Keep your concentration as you come out of the posture. With elbows still bent, slowly bring the feet to the floor back into a squat and stand up.
4. Counterpose: Ustrasana (Camel Pose), Wrist releases.