Slow Down: Move Like Crane

crane walking

Have you ever watched a crane, egret or heron walk?  They are very slow and deliberate with each step that they take. (See  egret pictured above.)  Each foot touches the earth or the water bottom with strong softness.  The strength lies in their long, thin legs that support their seemingly top-heavy  bodies.   They place each foot with an exactness and lightness that allows them quiet hunting.  Perhaps there are times when the way of crane would benefit each of us.  For instance . . .

When you find yourself rushing from place to place, breathing rapidly, or on edge, consider slowing down by doing the yoga posture, crane (Balakikasana) and/or move your crane into space with crane walk.  You will realize the benefits of slow deliberate movement in short order.

So, why not try it now?  If the weather is pleasant, go outside in your yard or to a park and prepare to slow down with crane-like movements. Or find an open space in your home that provides you with space for easy movement.   (If  you have heart, ankle or knee issues, hold the posture for a shorter period of time.)  To move into crane posture do the following:

1.  Stand in mountain ( Tadasana).  Feel the four corners on the bottoms of your feet (pads beneath the big and little toes and the back two corners of your heels).  Press the four corners of your feet into the earth activating your legs.  Keep your knees soft.  Reach your sits bones down toward the earth.  Lift out of the waist, elongating the spine all the way through the crown.  Relax the shoulders downward and reach the fingers toward the earth.  Feel your connection to both earth and sky like crane

2. Move into crane by shifting your weight to the left leg.  The right heel will rise and the knee will bend.  Make sure that your weight is evenly over your foot, four corners on the left foot are secure to the floor for stability.  Find a drishti, a point to place your attention/focus.  Your eyes may be focused ahead at eye level or a downward focused gaze several feet ahead of you.

3.  Inhale and raise your right leg up with a flexed foot and bring your arms out to the side in a T position.  Exhale, roll the shoulder blades down the back ribs.  Hold the posture and support it with your breath.  Let your crane fly by  gently bending and straightening your balancing leg. (If   you have ankle or knee issues, it may be best to omit this.  Listen to your body.)  Your arms, like wings, float up and down with bent elbows, crane wings.  Use the breath with the up and down movements.  Inhale, exhale bend your balancing leg.  Inhale, straighten your balancing leg.  Exhale bend your balancing leg.  Repeat the up and down movement a few times then hold the posture.  Bring the posture to a close standing in mountain (Tadasana).   Pause and notice the effects of the posture.  Next, do crane (Balakikasana) on the other side.

4.  Add more movement to the posture with CRANE WALKING.  Inhale.  Exhale, place the bent leg down shifting your weight to that foot.  Inhale, bring the back leg forward into a bent leg position, crane posture.  Exhale, place the bent leg down shifting your weight to that foot.  Continue as long as you desire.

5.  If you wish, you can take your steps backward instead of forward using the same breath/movement pattern.

Those of you who have children might like to introduce crane walking to them.  Show them some pictures of crane and talk to them about how cranes hunt for their food.  Do the posture with them and then take a crane walk together.  If you are working with a group of children, you might have them crane walk in a circle.  With young children, don’t be concerned about the exactness of their posture.  Just getting the idea of the posture shape is fine.  It is the intention of slowing down and the concentration and focus required to move into the posture that is more important.  For a young child, it may be that just moving forward in crane walk is enough.  Add moving backward as more of a challenge if it seems appropriate for your child.  (Actually, moving backward is good for all of us as we are so in the ‘forward motion’ mode.  We hardly know that we have a back body.  Moving backward increases that awareness.)

Please join me in crane posture and crane walking via the video below.

Notice how you feel afterwards.  Has at-easeness returned?   Are you able to move into your life quietly and deliberately like crane?  I hope so . . . .

Quiet blessings,




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