How to Do Flying Crow Pose (Eka Pada Galavasana) in Yoga

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Woman on yoga mat doing flying crow pose
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Also Known As: Flying Pigeon, One-Legged Balance

Targets: Arms, core, hips

Level: Advanced

Flying Crow Pose (Eka Pada Galavasana) is a great yoga pose for increasing arm and core strength, opening your hips, and improving balance. It is not a beginner pose, though—you'll need some solid yoga practice, strength, and balance to do this pose safely and effectively.

Benefits

Once you've mastered it, Flying Crow is one of the most elegant and impressive moves in yoga practice. It also boasts many benefits for your core, arms, hips, balance, and mental focus.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Begin standing with your knees bent in Awkward Chair (Utkatasana)
  2. Inhale as you bring your hands to Anjali Mudra at your heart.
  3. Exhale as you shift your weight to your left foot.
  4. Inhale and lift your right foot off the ground.
  5. Keeping both knees bent, exhale as you cross your right ankle over your left thigh, resting the ankle just above your left knee.
  6. Inhale as you begin to come into a forward bend over your right shin. Make sure you bend your left leg enough to bring your palms flat to the floor.
  7. Exhale. Hook the toes of your right foot around your upper left arm. Keep your right foot strongly flexed and your toes tightly hugging the arm.
  8. Bend both elbows to come into Chaturanga arms, which will make a shelf for your right shin.
  9. Inhale as you lean your torso forward, resting your right shin on your upper arms.
  10. Exhale and lift your left foot off the floor, keeping your knee bent at first.
  11. Inhale and focus on bringing more weight forward as you straighten your left leg behind you. Your left foot should remain off the floor the whole time.
  12. Exhale and flex your left foot strongly as you continue to hug the right foot to your upper arm.
  13. Breathe into the pose for a moment.
  14. To release from the pose, draw your left foot back to the front of your mat in a slow, controlled movement. From there, reverse your path to get into the pose by moving back through Utkatasana until you're standing.
  15. When you are ready, repeat on the other side.

Common Mistakes

You Haven't Mastered Tree Pose/Half Lotus

To do most standing balancing poses properly, you really need to be confident in Tree Pose–especially the Half Lotus variation.

If you are still early on in your yoga practice, don't rush through getting to know your standing poses. Achieving the strength, focus, and core stability you'll need to balance in Tree Pose (usually one of the first balancing poses you learn in class) comes with time. Once you've mastered it, you'll be able to get the full benefit of other standing poses.

You're Forgetting to Breathe

Forgetting to breathe is one of the biggest mistakes people make in their yoga practice. With any exercise, you need to ensure your muscles are getting adequate oxygen for optimal performance and safety, but with yoga specifically, failing to focus on your breathing means you'll miss key benefits of the practice.

If you catch yourself holding your breath at any point in your practice, pause and refocus. If you're unsure about where to breath or tend to lose track, ask your yoga instructor to show you some breathing awareness exercises.

You Aren't Warmed Up

As one of the more advanced and demanding yoga poses, not just physically but mentally, you don't want to go into Flying Crow without a proper warm-up. Try starting with a few Sun Salutations, then move on to poses that will open your hips and ground your feet, like Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I).

Modifications and Variations

Need a Modification?

One of the most likely places to get stuck when you're learning Flying Crow is trying to straighten your back leg and keep it off the floor at the same time. As you're learning, it is fine to keep that back leg bent and gradually work on straightening it as you find your balance.

To achieve this, it is crucial that you keep your head up and your body weight moving forward. Allowing your head to drop creates a powerful pull toward the floor, which you don't want. The weight of your torso needs to stay forward to balance out the weight of your back leg. Arm balances may look like they require a lot of arm strength, but they're really more about controlling your center of gravity through your core.

One way to improve your balance is to focus on the poses that come before it.

Flying Crow requires the hip flexibility of Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) and the balance technique of Crow Pose (Bakasana). Focusing on these two poses to start, and really mastering them, will give you the foundation of strength and focus you need for Flying Crow and many other advanced arm balances.

Up for a Challenge?

Once you're comfortable balancing in Flying Crow, try these additions to challenge yourself:

  • Lift your back leg higher.
  • Jump back to Chaturanga before switching sides.
  • Take a vinyasa before you switch sides.

Safety and Precautions

As always, it's best to check with your doctor before starting or changing up a yoga routine. Poses that challenge your balance, like Flying Crow, can be hard to get the hang of. Check in with your instructor before trying them on your own.

People with certain conditions, injuries, or those recovering from surgery may need to avoid standing poses that rely heavily on balance.

Skip the pose if you:

  • Have low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Have an injury to your spine, neck, feet, hips, wrists, hands, fingers, legs, knees, pelvis, or ankles or have recently had surgery involving any of these areas
  • Have sciatica or injuries to your spine, back, or hip joints
  • Are experiencing dizziness, lightheadedness, or balance problems

Your yoga teacher may advise you to avoid balancing poses if you haven't been sleeping well, have headaches or migraines, or aren't able to focus enough to achieve balance safely.

Ask your yoga teacher if there are any modifications you can try or if they can recommend similar poses that are safe for you to include in your practice.

Try It Out

Flying Crow is one of the more challenging poses to do in yoga practice, but it's also one of the most elegant and beneficial to your body and mind. To get the most out of the pose, try adding it to a yoga sequence with these complementary poses:

Was this page helpful?