Once you’ve mastered crow pose, give flying crow (eka pada galavasana) a shot. It is important to have a good handle on crow first so that you know how to make micro-adjustments to stay balanced on your hands. Crow is much easier to escape from than flying crow if you start to fall.
When I teach this in my yoga classes, I usually transition into flying crow from a variation on tree. This gives people the option to stay in tree if that is a more useful balancing posture for them. So let’s start there. Begin in a variation on tree pose with your ankle crossed over the centre of the opposite thigh.
Contract the abdominals, low back, and pelvic floor, and as you exhale fold forward, bringing the hands down to the mat. It is okay to bend into the knee of your supporting leg.
Now, bend into the elbows. Form a shelf with your tricpes (these are the muscles in the back of your upper arms). This shelf is the foundation of your posture; this is where the shin of your front leg is going to sit. The stronger your foundation, the more likely you’ll be able to stick the posture, so don’t let the elbows collapse inwards or outwards: the arms should stay parallel. Bring the shin to the triceps. You may need to hop the back foot farther back.
Like most arm balances, you don’t need to hop or jump to get into flying crow. Contract the chest and upper back muscles to keep the elbow from bowing out to the sides. Contract the abdominals, you’ll need them to maintain balance. Now, slowly bend into the elbows and reach the chest bone forward until your back foot floats off the floor. The slower you go, the easier it is to stick the arm balance. If you enter the posture with a lot of forward momentum it’s harder to stop right at that perfect balance point, and you’re more likely to fall forward onto your head. Also, try to look forward while you’re in this posture. Looking down or back toward the legs makes you more likely to roll forwards.
The last step is to slowly extend the back leg. Again, move slowly so that you don’t have to compensate for big changes all at once. For every change you make with that back leg, you have to adapt your foundation to maintain balance. Keep looking forward, keep the arms parallel, and keep the abdominals, low back, and pelvic floor contracted. Breathe.