Falling is Fabulous: The Lesson of Bakasana


In Teacher Training we talk about how to use positive speech patterns to create a good yoga studio environment, and part of that is encouraging students, especially when things are difficult. We say: if you fall out of a pose, don’t worry. You can just come right back into it.

Whether we’re attempting to balance on our hands with knees nestled near our armpits, or balancing our schedules, or checkbooks, or an array of family/friends/acquaintances/random strangers, there is inevitably a wobble…a teeter…and maybe a fall.

This thing called falling is also linked with another f word … fear. The pose I described is Crow pose, known in Sanskrit as, Bakasana.

The interesting thing about Bakasana is that it isn’t an incredibly hard pose. True, maybe this isn’t how you normally look while relaxing and watching Glee, but most people think it is so much harder than it is. There is one overwhelming reason for this: fear. Fear of balancing or rather, of falling. To fly in Bakasana you have to shift your weight forward, over nothingness, and take your gaze up off the floor. It’s more about courage than arm strength. Don’t believe me?

 “The Crow is one of the yoga poses that actually looks a lot harder than it really is and it requires much more coordination, concentration and awareness than the muscular strength in the upper arms.” *

Unless you’re a yogi, this has nothing to do with life, right? What about those never-ending situations when we find ourselves perched precariously, fearing a fall, trying to use all our strength to avoid crashing. Self-preservation is a natural human instinct and completely necessary. However, we can all learn a lesson from Bakasana. What we really need is balance and courage. Instead of clenching, flexing, gripping and gritting our teeth. The courage to lift our gaze from its fixed point and admit that we might fall. Moving past fear is a challenge. It takes a lot

of practice and probably plenty of falling before we can thrive. But once there there is a feeling of weightlessness, a freedom from stress and pain, a sense of accomplishment and the opportunity to breathe.

Bakasana. It’s known as Crow, but derives from the Sanskrit words “baka,” (crane) and “asana,” (posture). In fact, what we’re striving for is the posture of the crane, the freedom of graceful flight.

 The challenge is to take a chance on your self. Shift forward, lift your gaze and breathe. Release fear. Strive for balance. If you fall, don’t worry; you can always try again.



About the author
Enid Spitz Enid Rosalyn Spitz is currently a yoga instructor in Portland, OR with a background in Ashtanga and Vinyasa traditions. Her experience of yoga includes practices across the United States and in countries like Germany, France, England, and Spain. Enid sees yoga as a combination of mental clarity, physical strength, and a state of bliss and is a firm believer in the beneficial power of yoga for everyone
2 Responses
  • louis on 30 April 2012

    Dear Ms Spitz – inspiring insights, in so many ways applicable to many walks of life. Thank you.

    As a business person, shifting forward, lifting one’s gaze, and – after all – not forgetting to breath seems to be as applicable to daily strive as is Bakasana. Add economic uncertainty and cross winds of competition – and the soothing photos you provided seem to become a window into Nirvana.

    Looking forward to your next blog article. – Namaste

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