Yoga Sequence: Prep for Parsva Bakasana (Side Crow)
Here's a sequence I used in class as a preparation for parsva bakasana. This arm balance is just the icing on the cake of a practice that focuses on twists and forward bends. Any time you twist, use your breath to support the movement: when you inhale, lift the chest and extend the upper back. This may cause you to unwind out of the twist slightly and that's OK. When you exhale, contract the muscles of the low belly to stabilize your hips, and use the obliques (muscles in the sides of the waist) to rotate your torso. If you're not able to (or don't want to) do the arm balance (14), repeat the navasana variation for oblique conditioning (15) until fatigue, and over time, that will help you you develop the core strength to lift off! Be sure to do the compensation section (16-19) to stretch, and then stabilize the low back and hips after all those deep twists! You can see I've gotten away from teaching so many sun salutations, and instead do a couple different variations to bring awareness to breath and movement of the spine, and to warm the body up by introducing some core conditioning. Then I move along to postures that are specific to preparation for the goal posture of the practice.