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Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana)

Side Crow, also known as Parsva Bakasana in Sanskrit, is an advanced arm balance pose that requires strength, balance, and concentration. It is a variation of the traditional Crow Pose (Bakasana), where the body is twisted to one side while balancing on the hands. Side Crow challenges both physical and mental strength, offering practitioners an opportunity to develop core stability and arm strength while enhancing overall body awareness.

Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana)

The name Parsva Bakasana translates from Sanskrit as:

  • Parsva: Side

  • Bakasana: Crow Pose

Together, Parsva Bakasana refers to the twisting variation of Crow Pose, emphasizing the side-to-side movement and balance.

Sanskrit Pronunciation

Parsva Bakasana is pronounced as:

  • Pars-vuh Buh-kah-suh-nuh

Anatomy of Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana)

Understanding the anatomy involved in Side Crow helps appreciate its physical benefits and alignment cues:

Muscle Groups Engaged

  • Core: Rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques engage to stabilize the torso during the twist.

  • Arms: Biceps, triceps, deltoids, and forearm muscles work to support the body weight on the hands.

  • Shoulders: Deltoids and rotator cuff muscles stabilize the shoulders during the arm balance.

  • Hip Flexors: Engage to lift and balance the legs off the ground.

Joint Involvement

  • Wrists: Bear weight and require strength and flexibility to support the upper body.

  • Shoulders: Require stability and strength to hold the arm balance and twist.

  • Hips: Flexibility and engagement of the hip flexors are essential for lifting and twisting the legs.

Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana): Steps / Instructions

  1. Begin in a squatting position (Malasana) at the back of your mat with your feet slightly apart.

  2. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the mat in front of you, spreading your fingers wide for a stable base.

  3. Shift your weight onto your hands and lift your hips, coming into a forward fold with your knees bent. Keep your gaze slightly forward to maintain balance.

  4. Bend your elbows slightly, and place your knees on the back of your upper arms, just above the elbows.

  5. Shift your weight forward onto your hands and begin to lean forward, engaging your core muscles.

  6. Slowly lift your feet off the mat, one at a time, keeping your knees tucked close to your upper arms.

  7. Once you feel stable, begin to straighten your arms fully, pressing into the mat with your fingertips for support.

  8. Engage your core to lift and twist your legs to one side, extending them out to the side of your body while balancing on your hands.

  9. Maintain a steady breath and gaze forward or slightly upward to help maintain balance and concentration.

  10. Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths or as long as comfortable, then gently release and return to a squatting position.

Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana)

When to do it

Side Crow is best practiced when you are warm and energized, making it suitable for mid to advanced yoga sessions. Avoid practicing on a full stomach to maintain comfort and stability.

Preparatory Poses

Prepare your body for Side Crow with these poses:

  • Crow Pose (Bakasana): Builds strength and familiarity with arm balancing.

  • Twisting Poses: Such as Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana) or Revolved Side Angle Pose (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana) to prepare for the twisting action.

  • Core Strengtheners: Like Plank Pose (Phalakasana) and Boat Pose (Navasana) to engage and strengthen the core muscles.

Follow up Poses

After practicing Side Crow, consider these poses to stretch and relax the body:

  • Child’s Pose (Balasana): Releases tension in the spine and shoulders.

  • Seated Twist Poses: Such as Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose) to further release and deepen the twist.

  • Leg Stretches: Such as Forward Fold (Uttanasana) to stretch the hamstrings and lower back.


Side Crow is connected to the Manipura Chakra, the Solar Plexus Chakra located in the upper abdomen. This chakra governs self-confidence, willpower, and transformation. Practicing Side Crow can help balance and energize the Manipura Chakra, enhancing personal power and inner strength.

Solar plexus chakra

Mantra for this Pose

A suitable mantra to enhance your practice of Side Crow is: “Ram” (pronounced as Rahm)

Chanting the mantra "Ram" resonates with the qualities of the Solar Plexus Chakra, promoting confidence, courage, and vitality during your practice.


Alignment Cues

  • Core Engagement: Maintain strong core engagement throughout the pose to stabilize your torso and support the twist.

  • Arm Position: Keep your elbows slightly bent and shoulders stacked over your wrists to distribute weight evenly.

  • Leg Placement: Twist and extend your legs to one side, keeping them engaged and active to maintain balance.

  • Gaze: Focus your gaze forward or slightly upward to help maintain balance and concentration.

Duration of Hold

Hold Side Crow for 5-10 breaths initially, gradually increasing the duration as your strength and balance improve. Focus on maintaining proper alignment and breathing deeply throughout the hold.


Your drishti (gaze) in Side Crow can be directed forward or slightly upward to help maintain balance and concentration. A steady gaze helps stabilize the mind and enhance focus during the pose.

Physical & Spiritual Awareness

Physical Awareness

  • Core and Arm Strength: Focus on engaging and strengthening the core and arm muscles throughout the pose.

  • Breath: Maintain steady, deep breathing to support endurance and concentration.

  • Alignment: Pay attention to alignment cues to prevent strain and maximize the benefits of the pose.

Spiritual Awareness

  • Manipura Chakra Activation: Connect with the energy of the Solar Plexus Chakra to enhance confidence and willpower.

  • Mind-Body Connection: Cultivate mindfulness by synchronizing your breath with movement, deepening your practice.

Beginners’ tips

  • Build Core Strength: Develop core strength with preparatory poses like Crow Pose and core exercises to support your practice.

  • Start Slow: Begin with short holds and gradually increase duration as you build confidence and strength.

  • Use Props: Place a blanket under your head or use a block for support until you gain stability in the pose.

Who should not do it

  • Wrist or Shoulder Injuries: Individuals with acute or chronic wrist or shoulder issues should avoid Side Crow or practice with caution.

  • Pregnancy: Avoid twisting poses like Side Crow during pregnancy to ensure safety for both mother and baby.

Who should do it

  • Experienced Yogis: Those with a strong foundation in arm balances and core strength looking to advance their practice.

  • Athletes: Individuals seeking to enhance upper body strength, core stability, and balance.

  • Yoga Enthusiasts: Practitioners interested in challenging themselves physically and mentally through advanced yoga postures.

Benefits of Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana)

Physical Benefits

  • Core Strength: Builds and tones abdominal muscles, including rectus abdominis and obliques.

  • Arm Strength: Strengthens arm muscles, including biceps, triceps, and shoulder stabilizers.

  • Balance and Coordination: Enhances overall balance and coordination through arm balancing and twisting action.

  • Hip Flexibility: Stretches and engages hip flexors, promoting flexibility and mobility.

Mental and Emotional Benefits

  • Confidence: Boosts self-confidence and courage as you achieve and hold a challenging pose.

  • Focus and Concentration: Requires mental focus, enhancing concentration and mindfulness.

  • Stress Relief: Promotes stress relief and relaxation through deep breathing and mind-body connection.

Variations of Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana)

Advanced Variations

  • Extended Leg Variation: Extend one leg straight out to the side while maintaining balance in Side Crow.

  • Twisting Further: Explore deeper twists by bringing the elbow of the supporting arm closer to the opposite thigh.

Simplified Variations

  • Supported Side Crow: Use a block under your forehead or hand for additional support and stability.

  • Bent Knee Variation: Keep one knee bent on the upper arm while extending the opposite leg out to the side.

Modifications for Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana)

  • Use of Props: Place a blanket under your head or a block under your hand to provide additional support and stability.

  • Knee Support: Keep one or both knees bent on the upper arms to reduce the intensity of the pose and build confidence.

  • Focus on Form: Prioritize maintaining proper alignment and engaging core muscles over achieving full extension or depth in the twist.

Common Mistakes

  • Lack of Core Engagement: Failing to engage the core can lead to instability and difficulty holding the pose.

  • Overreliance on Arms: Placing too much weight on the arms without engaging the core can strain the wrists and shoulders.

  • Avoiding Twisting Action: Not fully twisting the torso can make it challenging to balance and hold the pose.

Safety and Precautions

  • Warm-Up: Always warm up your wrists, shoulders, and core before attempting Side Crow to prevent injury.

  • Listen to Your Body: Respect your body’s limits and avoid pushing yourself too far in Side Crow. Progress gradually and only advance to more challenging variations when you feel ready.

  • Avoid Overexertion: Avoid holding Side Crow for too long initially. Start with short holds and gradually increase duration as you build strength and confidence.

  • Mindful Transitions: Move in and out of the pose mindfully to prevent strain or injury. Maintain awareness of your body's alignment throughout the movement.

Additional Preparation Tips

Direction to Face While Doing This Pose and Why

Face towards an open space or wall where you have ample room to extend your legs and maintain balance. This direction allows for easier adjustment of your body alignment and supports better engagement with the pose.

What to Wear for This Pose

Opt for comfortable, form-fitting clothing that allows freedom of movement. Yoga pants or leggings paired with a fitted top are ideal to ensure ease of movement without distractions.

Suitable Place and Essential Oil or Fragrance

Practice Side Crow in a quiet and spacious area free from distractions. Consider using essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus to promote relaxation and enhance focus during your practice. These scents can create a calming atmosphere that complements the physical and mental benefits of the pose.

Music for This Pose

Choose soothing instrumental music or ambient sounds to accompany your practice of Side Crow. Gentle melodies and rhythms can help maintain concentration, deepen relaxation, and support a serene ambiance conducive to yoga practice.

Allow Side Crow to inspire you to cultivate strength, balance, and mindfulness both on and off the mat. Keep exploring, keep challenging yourself, and enjoy the empowering journey that yoga offers.

Happy yoga-ing!


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Jul 05
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I have been reading a lot about this pose and wanting to improve it. Your suggestion of overreliance on arm is spot on. I started engaging my core for better results.

What should I do twist and lock my hips?

Replying to

Awesome progress! When twisting, focus on rotating from your upper spine and keeping your hips aligned. This will help lock them in place. Namaste 🙏💜

Pooja Chauhan_edited_edited.jpg

About the Author

Namaste! I'm Pooja Chauhan

RYT 200Hrs | Meditation Coach 

Diving deep into the realm of yoga to revive its original teachings to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing them with the world.

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