The Lesson of Crow

Falling is fabulous

…In Teacher Training we talk about how to use positive speech patterns to create a good yoga studio environment, and part of that is encouraging students, especially when things are difficult. We say: if you fall out of a pose, don’t worry. You can just come right back into it.

Whether we’re attempting to balance on our hands with knees nestled near our armpits, or balancing our schedules, or checkbooks, or an array of family/friends/acquaintances/random strangers, there is inevitably a wobble…a teeter…and maybe a fall.

This thing called falling is also linked with another f word … fear. The pose I described is Crow pose, Bakasana.


And the interesting thing about Bakasana is that it isn’t an incredibly hard pose. True, maybe this isn’t how you normally look while relaxing and watching Glee, but most people think it is so much harder than it is. And there’s one overwhelming reason for this: fear…of a balancing pose, or rather, falling. To succeed in this pose you have to shift your weight forward, over nothingness, and take your gaze up off the floor. It’s more about those things and the courage it takes to do them than it is about the arm strength. Don’t believe me? “The Crow is one of the yoga poses that actually looks a lot harder than it really is and it requires much more coordination, concentration and awareness than the muscular strength in the upper arms.”

Unless you’re a yogi, this has nothing to do with life, right? Except for those never-ending situations when we find ourselves perched precariously, fearing a fall, and trying to use all our strength to avoid crashing. Self-preseravtion; that’s natural human instinct, and completely necessary.

But I think we can all learn a lesson from the crow. Maybe what we really need isn’t to clench, to flex, to grip and grit our teeth. Maybe what we need is a simple concept: balance. And enough courage to lift our gaze from it’s fixed point and admit that we might fall. Getting past our fear is tough. It takes a lot of practice, and probably plenty of falling before we can achieve that balance. But once there: there is a feeling of weightlessness, a freedom from stress and pain, a sense of accomplishment…and the opportunity to breathe.

Bakasana. It’s known as Crow, but really comes from “baka,” crane and “asana,” posture. So, in fact, what we’re striving for is the posture of the crane–an ideal of graceful flight.

finding balance

 The challenge: take a chance on yourself. Shift forward, lift your gaze, focus on your core, and breathe. Release fear. Strive for balance. If you fall, don’t worry; you can always try again.


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