The Side Crow Pose: A Beginner’s Guide

I love Side Crow because it’s a really great way to strengthen the core, especially the obliques. Twists are a staple in a yoga practice, and this twisting arm balance really helps us learn to fly while working our waist, hips, shoulders, arms, and abs.

It may look intimidating, but it is not much harder than the regular Crow Pose. Here is a quick guide that will help you to practice.

Use a Yoga Block

Beginners should start by placing their feet on a flat surface. This will help them to lift their legs higher and keep their knees and feet together.

You can add more complicated variations as you progress, but let’s begin with the very basic side crow.


You’ll need to warm up before you try Side Crow. Try some Sun Salutations and standing poses, such as Revolved Triangle. Also, try Chair Pose Twists, Lunging Twists, and some hip- and shoulder-opening poses such as Seated Spinal Twists.

I’m also a big fan of abdominal exercises, and I believe that focusing on Boat Pose, lowering and raising the legs on your back, and dropping the leg from side to side on your back are great ways to continue developing core strength.

Once you’ve warmed up…

Start in the front corner of your mat and do the Chair pose. Twist both sides to activate the correct muscles.

Hold for five breaths on each side. Hold each side for five breaths.

Next, grab your block and sit on it. Try twisting again in this position to get an idea of how high up your upper arm needs to be around your thigh.

This is an excellent way to practice the range of motion required for Side Crow.

After five breaths on each side, stand up and get on top of your block in a closed-knee squat. Rise high on the balls of your feet and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Twist your torso as far as you can to the right and line up your right pinky finger with your left pinky toe.

Leaning forward, place your outer left leg on top of your upper right arm. Start slowly by raising only the top leg to get an idea of balance. You can eventually lift both legs! Then, finally, you can remove your block and begin from the ground.

Continue to practice both sides. You’ll find that if you practice regular crow, you will soon discover how exciting and rewarding it is to fly and support yourself on your two arms.

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