30-Minute Vinyasa Yoga Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 3

Empowering Crow Pose

30 min - Practice


Build your confidence, release expectations, and enjoy making the shape of Crow Pose. We prep by warming the core, shoulders, and hip flexors, practicing Uddiyana Bandha, and exploring Crow from different positions. We fly our Crow with and without a block, and then release the front body in lunges and Camel pose. You will feel empowered, balanced, and centered.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block

About This Video

Feb 05, 2024
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Hello, and welcome. I'm Maeve. I'm so happy. You're here with me today. You're gonna need a block. Just one, 2 if you're gonna be on the safe side, and we're going to be playing with the shape of crow today. So before we start, I want you to let go of your notion of your ability or inability to do the pose, it does not matter.

We're just making shapes. Our first shape is child's pose, which is the shape of crow. So I'm gonna take my knees a little wide, but you're gonna decide where you feel best arms extend overhead. So nice, long child's pose here. And I'm sorry. But it's not restful.

We are gonna be working here. So press your hands down. Spread your fingers. Excuse me. And start to feel the hands giving energy to the arms, to the shoulders, You don't have to do anything specific with your shoulders. Just let them be where they wanna be. Oftentimes, most of the time, When your arms are overhead, your shoulders are gonna go forward.

You do not need to pull them down your back. Instead, let's work the arms real strong. So The more pressure we give our hands, the more you're gonna start to feel your triceps flare up. Let your breath start to balance, inhale to exhale. One more full breath here.

Next inhale rise to hands and knees. So my priority for you when you're breathing is that it's just constant. It is your home base. It's somewhere for you to come back to whenever you need to kinda check back in. Inhaling heart head, tail to the sky, how exhaling push the floor away spread your shoulder blades, drop the head, drop the tail, hollow the belly.

Inhale. Pull through. An exhale around the back. Now this is perfect as is. If you're comfortable in Ujabi Pranayama, you will integrate that as it's helpful to you.

It's just this nice sense of, but with the mouth closed, like you're steaming a mirror. And then on the inhale, it's like you're pulling that steam back. We're gonna stay here for a few more breaths option to stay as you are or to tuck your toes, hover your knees, and then move in cat and cow with a knees just hovering off of the floor. One more round here. Your knees can be down or up.

You're gonna take your right knee to your right tricep and bring it back down. And then left knee, left tricep, and bring it back down. And we'll do this a few times. Just move with your breath. I like to use my exhale to pull it in.

And one more time. From here, downward facing dog. Just take a moment. Allow yourself to move if you need to to connect to your foundation. Breath soft, steady.

Inhale, and then exhale, right knee, right tricep. Work the back leg strong, step back. Left leg, knee to tricep, and step back. Just a couple more like this with your breath. Right foot steps forward, left knee down, hands to your right thigh, press to rise up.

And you're gonna have the hands however you want. Just pressing here To get this sense of the arms working strong, little engagement in the left glute. One more inhale. Exhale, release down plank, inhale, exhale to your belly, please. Shalabasana stretch the feet back, stretch the hands back, open up the heart.

And downward facing dog. Breath in, left foot steps forward exhale. Write knee down, hands to your thigh, press to rise up. So we're working the sense of the ribs gently drawing back, the belly gently drawing back. Front hit points lifting a little, right hip engaging, giving us lots of stability through here, through your center.

Arms are strong. One more breath in. And release your hands down. Flank and hail. Into your belly exhale.

Shalabasana again, and downward facing dog. Walk your feet to your hands. Inhale halfway. Fold, exhale. Rise. Inhale.

Little pause here. Engage your glutes just enough that you feel stable to open a little more. And hands to your heart exhale. Rise, inhale. Separate your feet. Malasana.

Have a nice little seat down here. Take a breath in. And forward fold exhale. Inhale halfway, right foot steps to the back of your mat, and you can kind of spot it back Inhale crescent pose, exhale hands to the ground, plank inhale, either Chaturanga or the floor, and then updog or cobra, if you prefer, and downward facing dog exhale. Inhale, right leg back, right foot steps forward, exhale, rise crescent lunge, and exhale hands down, step to the top of your mat.

Length and halfway. Fold exhale. Rise. Inhale. Exhale, Malasana, sink down. Inhale.

Forward fold exhale. Halfway inhale. Left foot steps back exhale. Inhale crescent, exhale hands to the ground, plank inhale, Chattaranga or the floor, your backbend, inhale, and down dog exhale. Inhale left leg back.

Step your foot forward. Inhale crescent. And exhale hands, down step forward. Halfway inhale. Fold exhale. Rise.

Inhale. And hands to your heart exhale. Beautiful. Beautiful. I'm gonna take a moment and introduce Uddiana Banda. Hopefully, it's, something that feels good on your body.

And if it doesn't, you just you just leave it off and you keep your breath constant. And I like to practice this with my feet a little bit wide. I like to take my hands to my thighs and brace, but before we do that, so you can actually come here and just watch for a moment. So we'll inhale. You're going to exhale. Hold the exhale out, and then it's like a false inhale.

You draw up and then you inhale again. I'm gonna show you that again, exhale. Keeping the breath out. Drop up. Then inhale and exhale. Okay. So we're gonna do that with a little bit of racing because I think it helps.

So I like feet wide. I'm gonna brace hands to my thighs. Inhale. Exhale. Hold the breath out and then draw up in your belly.

Inhale. It's hard to say that when I have no breath. Exhale. On no breath, draw up. Inhale, exhale, and then draw up. Inhale Exhale.

Upwardflying. Last one, inhale. Exhale. Draw up. Inhale, rise up.

Really nice work. Just natural breath. Just allow your breath to kinda come back to where you were So that is a beautiful technique. It's a bond that's a lock that helps us to fly. So whether we're jumping forward on our mat, whether we're going a crow pose, which is what we're working into our practice today, it's really helpful.

If it doesn't work for you, leave it off. Inhale chair. We're gonna sink as deeply as you can. Sit down and. We're gonna do bent knee Nivas in it today.

Cause this action of drawing in and waking up these hip flexors, it's really beneficial. For where we're going. Okay. Press your inner feet together. So like big toe, base of big toe, inner heel, split your knees and then reach your arms forward. So the two actions I'm looking for here, are you reaching forward like crazy and your knees pulling back like crazy. Yes. And then if you wanted to, you could take your fingertips toward the sky Now start to squeeze your knees onto your triceps.

Oh, this should feel like a bit of work. One more inhale. Do you see me shaking? Yes. Good. Draw through center. We're gonna come down onto your back. Little pause. We're gonna do the same thing here.

Curl the shoulders up. Pull the heels toward your sitting bones and reach the arms up. Try to get the knees as high to your triceps as you can, hands at shoulder distance now squeezing inward with the knees. You could also do this knees on triceps like so. But the idea is really getting this nice sense of squeezing inward. Reaching away, shoulder pro traction.

That's where the shoulder blades go wide on your back, and it's a little bit of cat's pose, a lot of cat's pose, actually. Really nice. One more inhale. Woo. Reach the legs forward. Riza. Really nice. Use your hands.

Just press forward fold. Rise to stand inhale and exhale hands to your heart. Beautiful. Moving meditation in how. Reach up. Bow forward exhale.

Halfway in hand, plank lowering down, or chaatiranga Dandasana. Inhale, upward facing dog, or any backbend that you like here, downward facing dog, exhale. Inhale, lift your heels. Bend your knees. All your breath out. This is a nice time to play with Udiana banda.

Draw up. And feet forward. Inhale halfway. Bow deeply, whatever that is for you. Rise, inhale, and hands to hard exhale.

Inhale, rise. Exhale. Bow. Inhale halfway, exhale, Chaturanga, Inhale. You are backbend.

Down dog, exhale. Inhale heals high, Exhale, knees bend all your breath out. And if it's okay, integrate that Udi on a banda flip. Halfway inhale, forward fold exhale. Rise, inhale, and hands to your heart, exhale.

In how rise up. And Malassa sinking down. Good little pause here. Come back to how we felt on our backs in crow, seated in crow, and get a little sense of that now. The arms and the legs meeting each other's pressure.

So you've got this beautiful, oppositional energy. And that's gonna help us to rise up. Now if you're comfortable with Udiana banda, we're gonna continue using it. No pressure. We are not going to hold crow.

So I don't care how good you are at it. How prolific we're just gonna move in and out. Breath in, Hands come down. Now reach your hands away from you, so don't put them on top of your feet. Reach forward. Just lift up maybe tap the toes, come back down, Malasana.

Inhale. Exhale. Reach forward. On that no breath lift up. And then come back down. Rise up.

When I say rise up, I mean, like your spine. Breath in. Exhale. Lift off if it's there for you and back down and pause here. Malasana.

So when we're working in Crow, thumbs are pulling in pinky fingers are gently spiraling out, and that's gonna help to keep the arm nice and connected here. The elbows kind of hugging in very much Chaturanga arms. You're gonna find a block. Okay. Put the block down.

You can do it on the lowest. This is gonna be the most stable, but it's not gonna give you as much height if you feel pretty confident moving around on a block, you're welcome to put it on the middle height. I do not recommend the highest height. It's just too unstable. But if you're good middle, you'll take it there, flat, wonderful.

Let go of your notion of what you think Crow needs to look Alright. Take your hands forward. Watch yourself. Step on to the block. Big toes together in or heels together. Hands are not on top of the block.

This is very important. I need you to take yourself to your arms. Hands, press down. Needs to triceps hug in. You're not coming off the block. You're just working here, getting the strength of the shoulders. Yeah, you see on my block one to tip a little there because I got a little a little hasty, one more inhale, and then release off the block and pause.

Forward fold. Really, really nice. Just let go of that to let yourself kind of decompress down. We're gonna work Crow again. If you wanna use the block, you will.

If you wanna try it on your own, we're gonna go there now. So you can just move the block back off to the side if you're not using it. And you can use the block again and use it to lift off. So maybe you'll find that little bit of lift. So hands are reaching forward.

Breath simple and easy. And if you wanna integrate Udiana Bonda on that initial lift off, go for it. So I want your hands to reach away from you. Lift up. Walk your feet to each other. So now I've tipped forward. My hips are pretty high. There's a literal tipping point where, like, your feet just naturally come up.

And then maybe once you've gotten there, maybe you start to straighten the arms a little more. Pull the feet towards your sitting bones, look forward round the upper back. And we're gonna make our way back to downward facing dog. With your breath. Nice work.

Inhale. Right leg back. Open your hips. If it feels nice, bend this knee. Then step your right foot to the top of your mat.

Left knee down. Option to reach back and take your back foot with your right hand. Little engagement in this left loop So let me give you a nice stretch in the front of that left hip. We just did a lot of hip flexion, and I hope it feels good. Allow yourself a gentle twist.

Notice this shoulder. We've been doing a lot of this bracing. Allow it to open. Let your breath smooth out. Notice how you feel coming out of a post.

Not just when you're there, not the excitement of anticipating it, but how you feel when you come out. And that's our practice is noticing how things make us feel and making really good choices based on that. One more breath. Release the back foot. Plank and hail, if you would like, or just down dog, From dog left leg back, if it feels nice, open the hips, get this nice twist bend the knee.

Really kind of pulled that foot back, and that's gonna give you more stretch in the front of that left leg. Inhale, reach back, exhale, place your left foot forward. Write me down. Open toward the left option to bend the back knee. You reach back with your left hand. And then you can play with this, and I didn't say this on the first side, but you probably figured it out. Like, you can either push, push, push, or pull, pull, pull, or for me, I'm finding the balance of both because I want the shoulder to open, and I also wanna get an opener on the front of my hip. So I'm balancing those 2 actions.

But if you feel like you need more on one element, like you need more of a shoulder stretch or you need more of a hip flexor stretch, you're welcome to lean it into that direction. Last in Ex, I'll release the foot. Bring your hand around. Step back to plank, and the knees to the ground. Rise them.

Press your palms together nice and strong here. We're gonna reach the arms forward. Now, listen, shorten belly button to pubic bone, little engagement in the glutes, lean back, Really nice. You can stay here. If it feels okay, hands can come to the back, your hips, to your heels, and then opening Ostrasana. Your toes, and I didn't say this, but they can be tucked or pointed back but in either one of those positions using your feet, using your toes.

Nice You're rising up away from the ground energetically, so you're not resting back. You're lifting. Really nice. Now you can come out however you want, but if you want to come out the way we came in, you're gonna start to neutralize the spine and the pelvis rise up and then just pause. Really nice. So if that felt good to you, we're gonna do that again.

If you'd prefer to come down for bridge, right on. Inhale rise up. Exhale reach. Inhale. Start to sink back nice and strong.

Nice and strong. Hands release down and open. Nice. Really feeling a quality of effort here So your whole body, your whole kinetic chain is very much involved. And, ideally, you can breathe here and talk. I won't talk excessively just to prove that I can talk here, but I want you to be able to talk and speak naturally.

Alright. We're gonna come out. Neutralize, reach forward. So reconnect center, rise up. Let's just take an easy, easy child's pose, kinda coming back to that first shape we had. But now with a sense of down regulating of letting there be some ease, some quiet, 0 effort. You're gonna use your next few breaths to make your way onto your back.

It doesn't have to be fancy. Just get thee there. Souls of the feet together. Soupta badakanasana. I'm gonna give you 2 options here, and one is not better than the other.

Wanna be very clear on that. They're just options. So if you're feeling like, yes. This is the quiet I need, you'll stay right here. If you want just a little bit more effort of sorts, but maybe like a more, intense opener, you'll press your feet down, press your shoulders down, I like the backs of my hands down, so fingernails, and then gently lift the hips up into a bridge with supta badakonasana positioning, with badakonasana legs.

And then if it feels good, you can kinda go a little side to side here This always feels so nice to me after practicing crow and making that shape So to get an opening in the front of the hips, little opening in the shoulders, last breath in your exhale releases you down, and then just pause. If you need to, you'll you'll use your knees. I'm sorry. If you need to, you'll use your hands to draw your knees in. Good. Give yourself just one nice, easy little squeeze. Maybe curl your shoulders up.

And then release it, shavasana, legs release, hands release, there is a sense of unequivocal softness here. This is very hard for us to do. This, like, when I feel like when we're working, we wanna be, like, not working. And then when not working, we wanna be working. Embrace this moment of stillness, of quiet, not just in your body, but in your breath, in your whole being.

And sometimes when I'm feeling like I wanna keep moving, I say to myself, I've done enough, I welcome surrender, I welcome stillness, And then you just see what comes up. You are welcome to stay here as long as you want. If you're ready to come out, deep in the breath, wake up your fingers, your toes, and then whatever the pathway is for you, make your way to sitting. Notice how you feel. Taken all the good.

Don't ignore the bad. Just feel the good. Let yourself really appreciate that. We train our brain in that way to wanna do more of this when we really acknowledge the good Hands to prayer at your heart. Gently bow your mind to your heart.

I think you're wonderful. Inhale rise. Eyes open. Thank you for your practice.


Sandra Židan
Thank you very much, Maeve, for this beautiful practice! I feel so calm and relaxed after doing it! Namaste! ❤️💖🥰
4 people like this.
Great options for crow practice Maeve! Thanks so much!
Christel B
4 people like this.
Lovely practice into crow pose giving options along the way with lots of positivity.
Kate M
4 people like this.
This is absolute genius. The work with establishing Uddhiyana bandha and then applying to the Bakāsana work...! And the jump forward! I just got sooo much out of this 30 minutes - so much to continue to explore in depth. Thank you for this. Thank you YA for inviting Maeve to join the YA sangha!
1 person likes this.
Kate M gahhh, thank you! I'm glad this practice worked for you.  Your excitement and kind words just made my day.  
2 people like this.
Christel B thank you! Glad to be sharing a practice with you.
1 person likes this.
Marlo Thank you! I hope you flew!
2 people like this.
Sandra Židan I'm so happy to hear you feel good post practice. That's a big goal, ya? Thanks for practicing with me.
David G-
Hi Maeve: Loved this as a work break practice. The Mula Bandhi cue is a game changer.  I enjoyed the first practice in this season too (completed a few weeks ago). Thanks for all the positive energy. My easiest crow shapes ever.  Best, David  
Hi David! We practiced uddiyana bandha, and I agree, it's game changer. Isn't a wonderful feeling when we shift to (relative) ease? Thank you for practicing with me and look forward to hearing from you again! - MM
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