By Shameem Akhtar
The crow pose involves the third eye, and can be tough to learn because most people mistake meditation as almost always switching off the senses, says Shameem Akhtar
It is the Bihar School of Yoga which has for long underscored this very important aspect of yogic postures – that each pose predominantly involves a particular chakra. Some poses may involve all, some may involve a couple, but most poses individually tweak or require your focus on one chakra while executing it. This aspect alone could take an instructor, or a practitioner, an entire lifetime of learning. But some of that learning could come from your own personal practice, because you will naturally become attuned to which part of your body (or which aspect of your mind) you need to develop to be able to master the asana.
This column will focus on the third-eye poses, to reiterate the connection between each asana and the chakras. The crow pose (kakasana) also referred to as the crane (bakasana) or the meditating crane (bakadhyanasana) involves the third eye. It is an exciting aspect of this pose that unless you learn to switch on a special sense of intuition, it can be tough to learn. It involves the mind being able to involute the senses. Most people mistake meditation as almost always switching off the senses; on the contrary it may also involve having all the senses alert but firing inwards, rather than outwards.
The crow pose is a good example of this sensory involution and awareness. The pose demands that all the senses are kept fully alert – as for instance, where the eyes see and continue to maintain focus, one is aware of the sensation of how nerves under the fingers and palms alert you to a sense of
balance, and is attuned to the sensation of firmness of the lock of the elbows over the thighs. Getting a continuous input from all the senses determine how well you learn to execute this pose. It is being able to switch on one aspect of the mind that is required, and switch off other unnecessary aspects of the mind that is not required. Even if you are watched, or sense some other student falling beside you, even if your teacher says “good” or “bad”, if you can continue to hold the pose without distraction, then you learn the special aspect of yogic intuition and discrimination, which is a third-eye (ajna chakra) skill.
Crow pose (Kakasana):
The image shows the full pose. However, as a beginner, you may just want to train your body and mind towards the first stage of the pose. It is better learnt in a class under expert guidance. Squat on your toes. Place palms flat on the ground under your shoulders. Look ahead. Lift your hips up, tilting the torso so the knees rest on the upper arms, over the elbows. Fix your eyes on spot ahead (you may blink, but continuing to maintain the eye focus will help you enter the pose with more confidence) and lift one big toe (usually of the dominant foot). Then, drop it back to the ground. Lift the other one. You may practise this for a while to see how tough it is to maintain all the features of the pose. The urge to kick up (which is dangerous and foolhardy) has to be curbed as also the urge to move too fast into the final pose without ensuring that all the features of the pose (as mentioned above) are maintained.
Benefits: It develops strength of arms, hips as well as intense focus.
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