In Sanskrit Baka is known as Crane. This asana thus symbolizes the bird in way of posture. This asana can be performed as follows;
- Sit in Tadasana and after a while squat down with your inner feet a few inches apart. If it isn't possible to keep your heels on the floor, support them on a folded blanket.
- Now separate your knees wider than your hips and lean your torso forwards, between the inner thighs. Stretch your arms forward, then bend your elbows, placing your hands on the floor and the backs of the upper arms against the shins.
- Place your inner thighs against the sides of your torso, and your shins into your armpits, and slide the upper arms down as low on the shins. Lift up onto the balls of your feet and lean forwards even more, taking the weight of your torso onto the backs of the upper arms.
- In Bakasana you consciously attempt to contract your front torso and round your back completely. To help yourself do this, keep your tailbone as close to your heels as possible.
- With exhalation, lean forwards even more onto the back of your upper arms, to the point where the balls of your feet leave the floor. Now your torso and legs are balanced on the backs of your upper arms. When a beginner at this pose, you might want to stop here, perched securely on the bent arms.
- You can also squeeze the legs against the arms, press the inner hands firmly to the floor and (with an inhalation) straighten the elbows. Seen from the side the arms are angled slightly forward relative to the floor. The inner knees should be glued to the outer arms, high up near the armpits. Keep the head in a neutral position with your eyes looking at the floor, or lift the head slightly, without compressing the back of the neck, look forwards.
- Remain in this pose from 20 seconds to 1 minute. To release, exhale and slowly lower your feet to the floor, back into a squat.
The benefits of this asana are:
- Strengthens arms and wrists.
- Builds up and tones the forearm and arm muscles.
- Pressure on the bowel is eased by regular practice.
- Stretches the upper back.
- Strengthens the abdominal muscles.
- Opens up groins.
- Tones the abdominal organs.
- Improves balance in the body.
- Stretches the knees, hamstrings and lower back.
Precautionary measures that are to be followed in this asana are:
- Should not be practiced in pregnancy.
- Must not be practiced if suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.