Also! I'm making some serious progress in planning my 2015 yoga retreat schedule which will be announced in January. If you'd like to be one of the first to know, please let me know!
For me, learning how to do crow pose was a pivotal moment in my personal yoga practice. All of the sudden, I felt like my practice had new dimensions and could go to new (literal) heights. It became less linear and the pose opened a door to something totally new. So when I teach the pose in class, I'm not surprised at the excitement I see in students.
And while as an instructor, I try not to hover too much over them, I want to ensure everyone is safe before they explore the possibilities. The biggest mistake I see is people collapsing their weight into the wrists. If you look at the above graphic, on the right, you'll see how my elbows are out of alignment with my wrists. Because the elbows are out to the side, you'll see how the outsides of my wrists are now bearing a ton of weight. This is super dangerous (and was miserable to photograph, btw)! Set yourself up for success by gripping into the ground as if you were rock climbing - the fingertips and roots of the fingers should be plugged in. Then, ensure the elbows are over the wrists and go for it.
The next thing you'll want to watch out for is ensuring that you're using your core strength and intercostal muscles to pull and hold the legs up on your arms. It definitely requires a certain amount of hip flexibility to be able to crouch your legs up like that, but the majority of the work to hold the legs there comes from the core strength.
From there, you're good to go. Practice, practice, practice, and don't get down on yourself. Remember that everyone was once a beginner, so let yourself be the beginner if that's where you currently are. Let yourself enjoy the journey in learning how to fly.
Let's talk What pose would you like to see covered in Common Mistakes? I never know what poses to focus on!