Now that you have been building up your practice to include arm balances, you are probably ready to move into bakasana! If you work this pose slowly, with lots of patience, dedication, and a pillow out in front of you in case you fall flat on your face, (which I did many, many times) you’ll be on your way to flying in no time!
Get into a low, deep squat. Let your hips sink down towards the mat, and let your whole body round down, getting your shoulders as low as possible to the floor. Just let your weight fall into your hips and allow yourself to stay here for a few breaths.
Begin to move your feet in towards each other until your big toes, heels, and ankle bones touch. Let your torso stay rounded and your shoulders low while you hug your knees into the outside of your shoulders, as high up as you can. It can be definitely tempting to let your knees rest on the top of your triceps in crow pose, but resist this at all costs! Learning the pose this way makes it extremely difficult to move into the real pose as you advance your practice. The key to avoiding this common mistake is to zipper your thighs as tightly as you can to the deltoid muscles, hugging all the energy to the core of the body. (You can practice this action in lunge pose with your forearms down on the mat, hugging your knee to your shoulder)
Plant your palms out in front of you, about 8-10 inches, shoulder width apart. Spread the fingers wide, creating a strong, supportive foundation for your crow to balance.
You are now ready to move into the pose. Lift your hips and buttocks bones high into the air towards the ceiling. Next, slowly begin to shift your weight into the palms. Avoid gripping the mat with your fingers; rather, let all of your knuckles press evenly into the mat, keeping your fingers spread wide.
As the weight continues to shift forward, roll forward onto your tiptoes. From here, start by simply practicing lifting one foot off the ground at a time. The key is to visualize your heel moving towards your buttocks. With this action, your feet will lift, and you will begin to be able to lower the hips back down close to your heels.
The secret to a free, graceful crow pose is lift throughout the pelvic floor and core of the body. Engaging mula bandha and uddiyana bandha will help to draw the heels up towards the hips, and keep all of the energy hugging into the center of the body.
Eventually as you find more ease in your crow, your practice will evolve into working on straightening the arms, and shifting the shoulders forward of the wrists (something I am still working on, eight years later!)
Bakasana is a life-long practice, but one certainly worth the time and devotion!