I can’t even try to pretend that this challenge pose comes from ancient yoga texts.
This cute hybrid arm balance lovingly earns the name “funky” because it is—funky, fun and fabulous. The pose blends a traditional Side Crow arm with a forearm on the opposite side. As a general rule, I’d say it’s best to learn Side Crow first, but having the forearm down gives you more to balance on than just two hands therefore making it slightly more accessible.
However you look at it, I’d like you to have fun. Yoga is here to help us in a plethora of ways, but when you do a pose that’s funky it’s intention is certainly to make you smile. Now go shake that crow feather!
Begin in Tadasana. Keeping the weight in the heels, bend the knees, and drop the hips. Take a peak at you toes. If you can’t see them, shift the shins back remaining in the heels until you see the tips. Descend the tailbone as you lift the arms and chest. Take one full breath in Chair Pose. Keeping the knees bent, draw the palms to the heart and twist to the right landing the left elbow on the right thigh. Stay here or reach the armpit towards the thigh. Push the Namaste palms into each other, aiming the right elbow at the ceiling. Keep the knees even (you can look down to make sure) and take 8 breaths. Come back to Chair Pose for one breath then push to stand. Repeat the second side.
Come into a low squat balancing on the balls of your feet with the big toes and inner heels touching. Inhale, lift your left arm high and as you exhale, drop your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh. If you have wiggle room, deepen your twist by taking the left elbow closer to your right hip. Once you have the twist, place both palms flat onto the ground shoulder width apart. Place your right forearm down onto the ground (yes, you’ll be lopsided) so that your right elbow is roughly in line with your left palm and they are shoulder width apart. As you place the forearm down you’ll have to lean forward bringing your face closer to the ground. You’ll begin to feel a shelf developing under your left arm for support.
Continuing from step three, lean your chest forward and extend your gaze slightly past you front fingertips. This leaning action will help you to stack your left elbow (the leg support arm) over your wrist so you can properly hold your own weight. Once the elbow is stacked, sweep your shinbones up parallel to the ground working towards keeping your knees completely stacked. Hug the left forearm in to properly distribute your weight and keep even pressure under all 5 knuckles of your right hand. Take 5 breaths and place your feet back down. Repeat on side two and have fun!
Kathryn Budig is jet-setting yoga teacher who teaches online at Yogaglo. She is the Contributing Yoga Expert for Women’s Health Magazine, Yogi-Foodie for MindBodyGreen, creator of Gaiam’s Aim True Yoga DVD, co-founder of Poses for Paws and is currently writing Rodale’s The Big Book of Yoga. Follow her on Twitter; Facebook; or on her website.