This may be the world’s smallest and cutest arm balance. It’s a cousin of Karandavasana (Duck Pose) from second series Ashtanga Yoga where the legs are in Lotus. Baby Bakasana has all of the same actions as Karandavasna without the deep Lotus hip-opener (it can also be lowered into from forearm balance).
One of the key areas to focus on in this pose is the shoulders. We’re trained to keep our shoulders over our elbows in most poses and, without proper thought, taking the shoulders past the elbows can easily turn into dumping. The correct action is to physically shift your shoulders forward without losing support. Make sure to keep your upper outer arms firming in and the shoulders resisting the descent toward the hands. Once you get into the full pose it may not feel “right” and because it’s so darn tiny! You are so close to the ground you can’t even “pick up” into the pose, you simply point your toes and you’re off the ground.
Moral of the story—this is a silly, cute pose that is meant to be enjoyed. Pack your sense of humor and enjoy your journey into Baby Bakasana!
It’s important to prime your spine for Baby Bakasana because there will be an enormous amount of rounding in the full pose. Start in a squat balancing on the balls of your feet with your big toes touching. Separate your knees and walk your hands out in front of you until your arms are straight. Reach your forehead down toward the ground as you lengthen your heels toward the mat behind you. Breathe here for 8 breaths.
Stay low from Step 1 and just walk your hands in and place your forearms onto the mat parallel to each other. Wrap your knees around the upper outer edges of your arms. Spread all 10 fingers evenly and press down on both sides of the wrists. Keep the gaze slightly past your fingertips and begin to lean forward keeping the knees actively hugging around your arms.
Continue to learn forward so your face gets closer to the ground. I like to joke that there is a bowl of your favorite food in front of your hands and you don’t have a fork so you have to go face first! It will feel as though you are folding your biceps onto your forearms. Just be careful not to lift the elbows—they will stay flat the entire time. Once you lean forward, resist the weight of the legs on your arms by hugging the shoulders. Point just your left foot (you’re so close to the ground you won’t be able to lift it, just point).
Round your upper back deeply as if you could sprout wings out of your shoulder blades. Continue to squeeze your knees around your arms as you lean forward a pinch more and point your second foot so both feet are now off the ground. Round your upper back, firm your elbows down, and keep your gaze slightly forward without any strain in your neck. Spread your toes and hold for 5 breaths then release your feet to the ground.
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.