Yoga Babes: Bakasana & Chaturanga

M+M is launching a new “Yoga Babes” series: highlighting various yoga asana (poses) and celebrating that sometimes you have to just get your workout in when and where you can! So here is to backyard yoga, playroom pilates, sleeping-kids spin biking, homework weight training, or whatever your mommy bootcamp method of choice may be!

Bakasana: “Crane” (often called “crow”) pose

  1. Come into a squat on the balls of the feet (heels lifted) and knees apart
  2. Reach the arms long in front of the body & then draw one tricep at a time snug into the shin just below the knee, creating a “shelf” for your lower body to rest on
  3. Firm the palms into the ground so that you feel locked & loaded – the hands aren’t slipping & you have lots of stability
  4. Squeeze the knees into the arms
  5. Lift your rear end up!! (this is the step most people skip)
  6. Activate your core
  7. Look forward and let your nose & toes act as the counter weights of a scale
  8. As you tip your nose forward you will feel the weight start to come off of your feet, enabling you to lift one foot at a time off the floor
  9. Arms will eventually straighten


  • If fearful of falling forward, place a blanket in front of your face
  • Core is the most significant element in any arm balance: aside from having your entire body warmed up before practicing this pose, be sure to work your core a bit to activate more easily; also fire up through the core when balancing to give yourself additional lift
  • Keep your feet active when balancing :it is much harder to hold loose limbs in the air (think dead weight) rather than strong feet that are a part of the posture

Chaturanga Dandasana: “Four-Limbed Staff Pose”

  1. From plank position, activate the legs & core, draw the heels back & tuck the chin slightly in so the gaze is down rather than forward
  2. Lower the body in one elevator-like movement, making sure not to dip lower than the elbows
  3. Elbows track straight back rather than out to the side so that the biceps graze the ribcage
  4. Moving through upward-facing dog is the traditional way to transition out of chaturanga dandasana in a Vinyasa Flow practice


Chaturanga dandasana is one of my “soap box” postures as a teacher. It is quite easy to get hurt practicing it incorrectly

  • DO NOT dip the heads of the shoulders towards the floor (so awful for the rotator cuff); instead keep the shoulders in line with the rest of the body
  • DO NOT lead with the belly or chest towards the floor (promotes over-arching in the spine); instead consider keeping the knees on the floor for Modified Chaturanga until your upper body and core strength increase (you will be amazed how fast this happens!)
  • DO give yourself lots of variations to explore different ways of getting to the floor such as Knees-Chest-Chin and Modified Chaturanga. In a Vinayasa Flow practice there are many, many opportunities to practice Chaturanga Dandasana…sometimes too many when first starting out

Playful Combination: Bakasana to Chaturanga Dandasana!

If wrists are healthy and your Chaturange is strong & controlled, you can float from Bakasana directly to Chaturange Dandasana. In Bakasana, the following will happen simultaneously:

  1. Reach the heart forward towards the horizon
  2. Ground more firmly through the hands
  3. Guide the feet back for the balls of the feet to land softly on the mat
  4. Bend through the elbows (so that you do not pause in plank)


  • A soft landing ensures less jolt to the wrists, spine and feet
  • Have a sene of humor when trying anything new…or when your tried & true yoga practice feels different, more difficult or lacking energy – we’ve all been there!