Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

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Happy Baby Pose, Ananda Balasana, (ah-NAHN-dah bah-LAH-sah-nahNA)

ananda (happy) + bala (child) + asana (pose)

Also Known as: Dead Bug Pose, Ananda Balasana

Pose Type: Supine, Stretching, Back Pain, Stress Relief, Inversions, Restorative

Difficulty: Beginner

  • woman doing a happy baby pose
  • woman doing a happy baby pose toe hold

Tap into your inner child and play around in Happy Baby Pose for a powerful hip opener

happy baby Pose Fundamentals

The Happy Baby Pose is an inverted form of Child’s Pose. The reclined shape of the posture, coupled with its rocking motion, resembles a joyful baby – from which the name originates.

You wouldn’t guess from its ancient title, Ananda Balasana, and the vibrant mythology behind the posture, but the Happy Baby Pose is actually amongst the younger yoga asanas, originating after the original Hatha Yoga texts.

While it might not be a traditional posture, it sure is a popular one with yoga teachers often including it towards the end of a class vinyasa or yin.

happy baby Pose Benefits

  • Emotional Balancer – the gentle rocking motion encourages the release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain producing a powerful calming effect on your well-being and lowering heart rate.
  • Hip Opener – the wide-legged nature of the happy baby pose makes it great for opening the hips, inner thighs, and groin, stretching, and releasing tension in these areas.
  • Emotional Reliever – the Happy Baby Pose is also particularly good for women’s wellness, who tend to hold a lot of their emotional stress and tension around their hips causing tightness and pain.
  • Back Pain Reliever – by bringing the knees towards the chest while keeping the legs wide, this pose lengthens and opens the lower back, releasing tightness and assisting in realigning the spine from the lumbar to the neck. This is particularly true for lower back pain.

How To Do happy baby Pose: Step-By-Step

How To Get There

1. Beginning lying flat on your back, body straight and relaxed, then bring your knees towards your chest.

2. Stretch both arms out between your bent legs and grasp both big toes in a ‘toe lock’ or hold the outside of your feet. Your shoulder blades and the entire length of your spine should be against the floor, all the way down to your tailbone.

3. Your head should be resting on the floor, back flat and ankles stacked directly over the knees so that both shins are perpendicular to the mat underneath you. 

4. Widen your legs and allow your thighs to fall alongside your torso, legs bent at a 90-degree angle, hamstrings facing up.

5. With an exhale, pull the knees toward the floor with the help of your hands, while simultaneously pushing your heels up to the sky feel the deep stretch in your hips, groin, and thighs. 

6. Remain here for one or two minutes, adding in some side to side rocking movements if you wish. Deep breathing helps the knees sink deeper towards the earth.

annotated image of a woman doing happy baby pose, ananda balasana

Tips And Tricks:

  • You can’t force Happy Baby Pose. You’ll only be able to tap into the Asana if you allow your hips, shoulders, and spine to melt and surrender to the pose.
  • Treat yourself and use props galore in Happy Baby to make it more accessible. Lift your hips with a bolster or pillow, or use a strap to create the tension between your hands and feet.
  • Make sure that your low back is on the yoga mat, all the way down to your sacrum.
  • If you can’t reach the outside of your foot, use a yoga strap. Looped one around each of the soles of your feet, pulling them down towards the mat.
  • Often done at the end of a yoga class, it is important to warm up fully before coming into the pose, especially the inner groins.

happy baby Pose Variation: Happy Baby With A Bolster

woman doing a happy baby pose with bolster under her hips

If you struggle to reach your feet in Happy Baby without lifting your shoulders up off the mat, this modification may be for you.

Use a bolster in Happy Baby Pose to lift the hips up, creating length in the lower lumbar, and bringing your feet closer to your hands for a more accessible clasp.

woman doing happy baby pose hugging a bolster

Get the same hip opening and stress relieving benefits by taking a more restorative approach to Happy Baby Pose with the help of a bolster.

Interlock your arms and legs around a bolster and let your glutes and hips open naturally.

Precautions & Contraindications:

Pregnancy & Menstruation:

As Happy Baby Pose is a very mild inversion, it places the yogi’s head lower than your heart and hips and features some abdominal compression. This can affect your circulation which could cause complications for pregnant persons, those menstruating, and people with high blood pressure.

Back, Neck, Ankle, Knee Injuries:

If you are experiencing an injury in any of these areas, you should be cautious and consult a doctor before attempting this pose, which places some pressure on these areas and could exacerbate pre-existing conditions.

Related Poses

Preparatory Poses:

Half Happy Baby Pose

Child’s Pose

Hero Pose

Counter Poses:

Downward Facing Dog

yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.

Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.

Photo of author
Maria Andrews is a 200h Registered Yoga Teacher, long distance runner, and adventure lover.

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