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Hatha Yoga Tip

CROW – Kākāsana – Beginner

Swami Vishnudevananda

Strengthening the arms and the shoulder girdle is a main concern in any physical exercise programme. Instead of using weights, the Yogis developed balancing asanas such as Crow and its variations. In these, the body weight shifts from the feet, legs and hips to the hands, arms and shoulders. Relax afterwards in Child’s Pose.

• Helps to develop strength and flexibility in the wrists
• Strengthens the tricep muscles
• Strengthens the shoulder muscles
• When you are practising this pose, you have to evaluate how much of your body weight you can place on your arms and hands. If you place too little weight on them, you will not be able to lift your feet off the floor. After a period of testing and hesitation, one concentrated, determined movement will lift you into the pose. Crow therefore helps to develop your determination as well as your powers of concentration.

1. Sit in a squatting position, with your legs and feet apart. Taking your shoulders in front of your knees, place your palms on the mat in front of you. Keep your arms slightly bent and adopt the correct position for your hands and elbows. Breathe slowly and rhythmically.
2. Come up onto your toes, lifting your hips, and keeping your knees pressed firmly against your upper arms. Continue breathing rhythmically in the abdomen.
3. Breathing more deeply, focus on a point in front of you, then slowly move forwards, shifting your weight away from your feet and onto your wrists. Your elbows should be slightly bent and your knees resting on your upper arms. Continue with Step 4, or hold for a few moments, then exhale and return to a squatting position.
4. If your wrists are strong enough, come into the full pose. Starting from Crow Step 3, inhale, hold your breath, then slowly move your weight farther forwards until your feet lift off the floor. Balance for a few moments, then exhale, and return to Step 2. Once you can achieve the full pose, hold it as you breathe rhythmically for up to 30 seconds.

According to yoga theory the mind controls everything. Not only the body, but the entire universe is being controlled by the Cosmic Mind. Your individual mind is part of the Cosmic Mind. – Swami Vishnudevananda

Live not to satisfy your palate and the senses, but live to realise the Self within. – Sri Swami Sivananda

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Abhaṅga – A devotional poetic composition
Abhimāna – Ego-centred attachment
Abhyāsa – Spiritual practice
Ācārya – Preceptor
Ādhāra – Support
Ādhāra Śuddhi – Purification of the Mūlādhāra, centre of spiritual energy located at the base of the spinal column
Adharma – Non-righteous conduct
Adhikāri – A qualified person
Ādhyātmic – Spiritual
Ādi Śakti – The Primeval Power
Advaita – Non-duality
Āgāmi – Current action, Karma now produced to be enjoyed in the hereafter
Agni – Fire