How to do a yoga crab pose

How to do a yoga crab pose

Embarking on a yoga journey involves the exploration of various poses that challenge and strengthen different parts of the body. One such pose, the Crab Pose or reverse tabletop, not only enhances arm strength but also contributes to improved posture. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of Crab Pose, providing step-by-step instructions, pose modifications, insightful tips from the yoga community, common challenges, and an exploration of the physical and mental benefits associated with this empowering pose.

Understanding Crab Pose:

Crab Pose, known as Ardha Purvottanasana in Sanskrit, serves as a mild backbend suitable for beginners. The pose involves lifting the torso toward the sky while maintaining alignment in the hands, shoulders, knees, and feet. Let's break down the pose with clear and detailed instructions, ensuring a thorough understanding for practitioners at all levels.

  1. Starting Position:

    • Begin by sitting on your buttocks with your knees bent, feet hip-distance apart, and flat on the floor.
    • Place your hands on the floor behind you, ensuring they are shoulder-distance apart, with fingers pointing inward.
  2. Pose Execution:

    • Inhale deeply as you lift your hips, bringing the torso parallel to the floor.
    • Ensure that your feet are positioned directly under your knees, and your hands are aligned under your shoulders.
    • Maintain steady breath throughout the pose, focusing on the engagement of the core and arms.
  3. Holding the Pose:

    • While in Crab Pose, it's crucial to focus on the breath, allowing the body to settle into the alignment and embrace the stretch.
    • Hold the pose for a comfortable duration, ensuring you listen to your body's signals.
  4. Exiting the Pose:

    • Exhale gradually and lower yourself back to the starting position with control and mindfulness.

Common Challenges and Modifications:

  1. Hips Not Level:

    • Common Issues: Achieving level hips can be challenging due to various factors such as shoulder flexibility, overall body strength, and individual anatomical differences.
    • Alternatives and Modifications:
      • Practice without forcing; lift your hips to the extent your body allows, gradually working towards level hips.
      • Explore alternative poses that stretch the upper body and build torso strength.
      • Gradually add shoulder-focused exercises to your routine to improve flexibility.
  2. Shoulder Strain:

    • Possible Causes: Limited shoulder flexibility may lead to discomfort or strain, especially for those new to the pose.
    • Adjustments and Modifications:
      • Rotate your arms to have fingers pointing toward the outside of your mat for a friendlier shoulder position.
      • Substitute with seated shoulder extension exercises to gradually build shoulder flexibility.
      • Consider hip bridge poses as an alternative, focusing on glute engagement and hip extension while avoiding excessive strain on the shoulders.
  3. Prolonged Warm Sensation:

    • Normal or Not: Feeling warmth in muscles up to 24 hours post-practice is relatively normal, indicating muscle engagement, stretching, and the activation of various muscle groups.
    • Health Anxiety Concerns: Acknowledge the warm sensation as a result of muscle work rather than catastrophizing. Understanding the normal physiological responses to exercise can alleviate concerns.

Physical and Mental Benefits of Crab Pose:

  1. Physical Benefits:

    • Arm Strength: Crab Pose actively engages the arms, particularly the triceps and deltoids, contributing to enhanced upper body strength.
    • Core Activation: The pose requires core engagement, promoting abdominal strength and stability.
    • Posture Improvement: Regular practice of Crab Pose contributes to improved posture by strengthening the muscles that support an upright stance.
    • Flexibility Enhancement: The pose stretches the front of the body, including the chest, abdomen, and hip flexors, enhancing overall flexibility.
  2. Mental and Emotional Well-being:

    • Stress Reduction: Engaging in mindful breathwork during Crab Pose can help alleviate stress and promote relaxation.
    • Focus and Concentration: Holding the pose requires concentration, fostering mental clarity and focus.
    • Self-Awareness: Practicing Crab Pose encourages practitioners to connect with their bodies, promoting self-awareness and mindfulness on the mat.


Incorporating Crab Pose into your yoga practice offers a myriad of physical, mental, and emotional benefits. The comprehensive guide provided here aims to empower practitioners with a deep understanding of the pose, offering clear instructions, modifications for common challenges, and insights into the multifaceted advantages associated with this empowering asana. Embrace the journey, listen to your body, explore modifications when needed, and celebrate the progress on your mat. Remember, yoga is a personal journey, and each practitioner's experience is unique. Enjoy the transformative power of Crab Pose on your path to holistic well-being.