Child’s Pose, Balasana, (Baa-Laa-Suh-Nuh)
bala (child) + asana (pose)
Also known as: Child Pose, Yin Yoga Child Pose, Mouse Pose, Child’s Pose Stretch, Extended Child’s Pose
Pose Type: Back Pain, Stretching, Restorative, Menstruation, Stress Relief, Headaches, Sciatica
Come back to yourself and rest in the loving cocoon that is Child’s Pose.
Child’s Pose Fundamentals
Child’s Pose is a foundational pose in our yoga practice that offers a space for us to rest in. It can serve as a powerful reminder that “not doing” is just as essential to our yoga practice (and our lives…), as “doing”.
Although at first glance Child’s Pose may seem easy, oftentimes, the simplest “do nothing” poses are the most challenging for our whirring minds. Be patient with yourself in Child’s Pose. Come back to the breath.
You will often find Child’s Pose in Restorative classes, or at the beginning of a yoga flow to allow a moment of stillness, or an opportunity to set an intention.
Child’s pose invites us to use props to fully support ourselves as we peel back the layers and come into deep relaxation.
Child’s Pose Benefits
- Tension relieving. Take a moment to unclench tense muscles. Let your jaw hang loose, your shoulders melt backwards.
- Calming. Closed off to your surroundings, and in your own little nest, tune into your breath and slow your heartrate right down.
- Stretching. Ease the muscles in the back, thighs, and hips with a gentle stretch.
- Aids with digestion. The light compression of the internal organs in balasana is said to help with proper digestion.
How To Do Child’s Pose: Step-by-step
How to get there:
1. Begin on all fours in the center of your mat. Your wrists should be stacked directly under your shoulders, knees stacked directly under your hips (this is known as table pose).
2. From here, exhale and lower your hips so that they are resting on your heels, toes untucked so that the tops of the feet are flat against the floor.
3. Gently bend your torso forward, hinging at the hips and bringing your forehead to rest on the floor. Your sit bones should still be resting on your heels, and your arms relaxed alongside your torso.
4. Experiment here to find what is most comfortable or what provides the greatest stretch. Maybe this means spreading your knees apart and having your chest closer to the mat, or maybe it means resting your head on your palms.
5. Stay here for 5 minutes or more, breathing deeply and actively pressing your belly down towards the floor. Relax the muscles in your face, especially the jaw and forehead, where we tend to tense up when stressed or in pain.
6. For a variation that deepens the stretch and opens up your shoulders and chest: try extending your arms to the top of your mat, hands shoulder-width apart, palms on the floor and fingers stretched. (This is known as extended child’s pose)
Tips And Tricks:
- Use Child’s Pose as a break in your yoga practice. If ever you need to take a restful pause in any yoga class, come back to Balasana to recenter yourself and breathe. Stay here until it feels right to continue with your yoga practice.
- Use your breath in Child’s Pose to create space in the back and to allow yourself to melt into the pose. Breathe into your back body, imagine your spine lengthening, widening, and doming upwards. And with each exhalation, release your front body a little deeper, a little closer to the earth.
Child’s Pose Variations: Supported Child’s Pose
Support yourself in Child’s Pose with plenty of props to achieve complete comfort. Use blankets and blocks to create yourself a supportive nest to allow yourself to fully relax.
Childs Pose Variation: Child’s Pose With Bolster
How to get there:
1. Sit down on your heels, allow your buttocks to relax over your heels.
2. Grab a bolster and place it between your knees. Ready for the pose.
3. Take a deep inhalation and as you exhale gently fold onto the bolster. Keep the deep breathing as you relax into the pose.
4. Stay in the pose between 3-5 min.
5. To come out of the pose, press your arms on the floor and slowly bring yourself to a kneeling position. Shift your weight onto one hip and release your legs.
Precautions & Contraindications:
If you are pregnant, spread your knees wide when you come into Child’s Pose. That way, you avoid compressing your stomach on your thighs. Be gentle with your body, and if you experience any discomfort, stop immediately.
If you are suffering from a serious knee injury, avoid Child’s Pose if it aggregates the knee area. Stick to yoga asanas that don’t rely on compressing the knees.
Instead of the extended Child’s Pose variation which calls for the arms to be stretched out towards the top of the mat, keep your arms draped down your side body, hands towards the back of the mat, palms facing upwards.
That way, you won’t require as much range of motion from your shoulders, and you’ll put less pressure on the joint.
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