When you first see this pose, you may wonder how to get into it. The transition requires you to find an inner stillness, although the movement itself is not as challenging as it may seem at first. You will need a calm, steady mind to approach this pose. I chose to include Urdhva Kukkutasana because attempting this pose was an emotional journey that taught me strength and stillness of mind. For many years, I felt unworthy because this pose was inaccessible to me. You too may find it very difficult or nearly impossible. Yet if you integrate the impossible into your practice while maintaining a calm, quiet mind, you will become stronger for trying! Never judge yourself by whether you achieve the aesthetic shape of the pose. Go on the inner journey, and let the state of your stillness be your measure of success.
There are many different ways to enter this challenging arm balance. Let’s start with the most basic. From a seated position, fold your legs into Padmasana (Lotus Pose). Roll forward onto your knees, and place your hands on the mat directly in front of your knees. Stabilize your shoulders and draw your lower ribs in toward your spine. Tilt your shoulders forward and bend your elbows slightly. Lean to the right to lift your left knee toward your left armpit. Lean toward the left to lift your right knee toward your right armpit. The knees may not actually reach the armpits. As long as the knees rest on the upper arms above the elbow, the pose should be accessible. Straighten both arms and press down firmly from your shoulders. Tighten your core, send your hips back and up, and gaze toward your nose. Stay here for five breaths. Exhale and jump back to Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Pointed Staff Pose), releasing Padmasana along the way. Note that Bakasana (Crane Pose) can be used as a modification if you cannot do Padmasana yet.