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Merudandasana (crow pose)


This balancing asana is a very popular pose as it is fun to do and is a good preparation for the more difficult balancing positions. It requires concentration, focus and balance more than strength.

Merudanda - Spinal column
Meru - A name of mountain

Neither of these Sanskrit words translate to the word crow but this is the name that many people correlate with this pose. The relation to Meru or Hill is there as when the hips are raised high the body looks a little like a small hill.


Taking the asana position


1. From sittingFrom sitting position, bring the feet in, close to the body, and come onto the toes with the support of the hands.
2. From sitting position, bring the feet in, close to the body, and come onto the toes with the support of the hands.
3. Bend the arms slightly and touch the inner side of the knees to the outer sides of the respective upper arms. The shins should also be touching the back of the respective upper arms. This is one placement, a variation to this, though harder for most, is to place the knees directly on the upper arms. However this can be painful for some and can cause bruising if the arms are delicate and not used to the practice.
4. Squeezing thSqueezing thSqueezing thSqueezing the knees against the arms and the arms pushing out against the knees, slowly lean the body forward, lifting the buttocks in the air, gradually transferring the body weight onto the hands. Keeping awareness of the hands, particularly the fingertips as the weight is transferred forwards. Then lift the feet off the floor, balancing the body on only the arms. The legs should automatically be lifted from the ground, there should be no jumping. The gaze should be on the ground a foot or more away.


The asana position


In this position, the hands form the base of the posture, so the fingers should be spread to form a wide base. The sides of the knees are pressing firmly against the sides of the respective upper arms, and the feet are lifted off the floor, with the big toes touching each other. In order to maintain balance, the gaze should be fixed on the floor, about 3 ft forward. Awareness should be maintained on the hands, particularly the palms.


Releasing the asana position


1. Slowly lower the feet to the ground by moving the body backwards.
2. Release the knees from the arms.
3. Come onto the toes.
4. Place the hands on the ground by the side of the hips, straighten out the legs and come back into sitting position.


Anatomical focus


Hands, wrists, shoulders, abdomen and lower back.




On maintaining balance.




1. Spread the fingers to form a wide base.
2. Lean the body forward so that the body weight shifts to the arms and the feet automatically lift off the floor.
3. Keep the big toes touching.
4. Breathe normally.




1. Keep the elbows straight.
2. Try to jump into the position, instead gradually transfer the weight forward, but not downwards.
3. Look straight down on the floor. This increases the like hood of falling forward and landing on the nose/face.




1. Balances the nervous system.
2. Strengthens the arms and wrists.
3. Develops sense of physical balance.
4. Develops concentration and focus
5. Increases confidence


Therapeutic application


Anxiety disorders, Depression, Helps reduce hyperactivity


Precautions & contra-indications


1. High blood pressure
2. Heart disease
3. Cerebral thrombosis
4. Weak wrists, carpal tunnel syndrome
5. Take care not to jump which may lead to falling and hitting the nose or straining the wrists.
6. Pregnancy




A steady pose should be held for at least 15 seconds. With practice, a steady posture can be held for 1 minute.


Variations & tips

  • This asana requires more coordination and balancing rather than muscular strength. However, if the arms/wrists are not strong enough to support the entire body weight, you should lean the body weight forward onto the arms such that only one foot is lifted off the ground, with the toes of the other foot on the ground. Hold this pose for some time and alternate the foot being lifted up. This will help to develop the necessary strength in the arms/wrists to support the full pose.
  • Practice of the preparatory poses will help one to develop strength and balance.
  • Don't forget the different options for placement of the knees and upper arms and remember never to rush the pose. Everyone can do it with time.
  • Remember balancing positions reflect the state of the mind. If you are feeling emotional it may be more difficult to achieve this pose, instead try at another time when your mind is more steady.


Preparatory poses


Ashtanga pose (Eight Limb Pose), Plank pose, Adho Mukha Shwanasan (Downward Dog), Utkatasan - Toe Balancing Pose


Follow-up poses


Hansasana (Swan pose), Ek pad merudandasan (One Legged Crow), Presarvabagasan (Side Crow), Bakasan (Heron Pose)


Ancient texts -


No references in the ancient texts are found about this pose.