The crow pose is my nemesis. It doesn’t come easy for me at all!
Yes - I’m a yoga teacher and I still cannot do a Crow…….. YET.
I’ve practised for years and somedays I can and most days like today, it didn’t happen. The old me would get really angry with herself.
But the new me have learnt to let go of the attachment to "getting it.” It’s just a yoga pose - getting it won’t win me the lottery nor will it enhance the quality of my life.
The new me have discovered that - a good teacher is not defined by WHAT she can do but HOW she can guide her students to greatness and see the I’m-Possible instead of the impossible.
The other truth is that this post is not a tutorial about how to do the crow pose - there are plenty of tutorials and howtos out there. (And as a bonus, I’ve included at the very bottom what worked for me in my practice.
Instead I’m sharing lessons I’ve personally discovered that transformed my practice, my teaching and my life and I hope it’ll transform yours too.
Being Willing to Fail
For many years I was ashamed for not being able to do the Crow in class, when my neighbours on the other mats, could easily fly.
I’m guilty of taking sips of water or wiping my sweat off when the teacher mentions the C word or B word. And so I don’t have to do it or by the time I get into it, it’s over. In my head, I told myself, “I can’t do it. What’s the point?”
When the going gets tough, my coping mechanism is to procrastinate.
"Ooh it's over! Yay!"
But Nay… in my heart, I want to be able to do it but I was afraid that if I try and I still fail, it’ll make it worst.
But you know what - the truth is I was more afraid of succeeding than I am of failure.
Everything you want is on the other side of fear. - Jack Canfield
Practising the crow gave me access to practise failing over and over again.
When you do the work, real shift will happen
I had this clever idea of practising the crow only when I was asked to ie I had no intentions to practise it at all except in class because “what’s the point of being frustrated when I can be happy?”
That was my mindset then; kinda like doing a reverse psychology on my monkey mind. (I was so not on the - “practice and all is coming” bandwagon for crow - I was “young” so sue me!)
That worked for a while. I was happy that I wasn’t “failing” and physically it got me “doing” the pose when needed, but I was still frustrated .
Then when I did my second 40 days to Personal Revolution program - I was introduced to one of Baron’s many nuggets of wisdom -
Intention without action is useless.
I was brought to earth. And so my real “crow" journey began.
Today’s breakthrough is tomorrow’s Ego trip
"I got it!"
"Damn! No I didn’t get it!"
Some days are easy. Some days are hard. It’s all about staying in the flow, doing the work and observing what comes up.
And most importantly it taught me to behumble about my success and unattached to future outcomes. Ok so I do break into a little dance on the inside, but I recognise that tomorrow will be different, because my body will be different.
Don’t try too hard, try easy
The voices in my head gets really loud whenever I prepare myself for the pose. The internal dialogue of how to get in it, where to put knees and my feet, did I forget to engage my belly, engage now, no start again, maybe I need a block. And sometimes I’m lucky enough the teacher gives enough time for the dialogue to finish (which it normally doesn’t..) but sometimes, I’d missed it and I’d regret it not getting into the pose quick enough.
The hardest thing to do is to drop those thoughts and just be. (but really, do I need a block?)
Can you stay and breathe and keep your toes on the ground. Yes, that is still the Crow pose but in training. But So what! The learning is to stop struggling and make it easy. You know how.
Always look forward (Drishti)
In crow, my most important learning is TO LOOK AS FAR FORWARD AS I CAN.
DON’T LOOK DOWN.
And keep reaching for possibilities.
Maybe one foot off, maybe both but keep looking forward. Even if you don’t lift out.
When your attention is on what is right in front of you, everything else falls by the side - like the overzealous yogi who can straighten both arms or even go up to handstand. Eek!!
But seriously, just allow yourself to focus on your own mat and not others - you’d be surprised on what is available for you.
It’s ok to be a beginner again
There’s no right or wrong way to get into the crow pose. Teachers and online tutorials can only give you the tools but not all the tools are right for your body.
Only you know what’s right for you through PRACTICE and WILLINGNESS TO FAIL AND BEGIN AGAIN.
Yoga teaches us to be humble and to seek the truth and always be a student. You can only learn your OWN way by being willing to try something new.
If you’re in a space of I Don’t know - that’s a good place to be, means you have the space to grow and learn something. If you already know and your way is the right way (even if it doesn’t work), then you won’t grow.
I tried a lot of things - from having my feet apart and/or placing my knees on top of my triceps TO having a block under my forehead as support and even facing a wall and pressing my forehead against the wall.
Also there is the strap option around the forearms to give the feeling of hugging in.
In my teacher training, I also learnt how to assist my student in the crow pose, and my favourite personal practice is to elevate my feet (thus my hips too) by having my feet on a block.
And I flew albeit for 3 secs after following THIS video from Jason Crandell. (note that you’d need to pay monthly subscription fees of US$18 to view the full video but first 15 days is free)