HOW TO PRACTICE Child's Pose IN YOGA (Balasana)
Benefits, How to Instructions, Modifications, and Common Alignment Mistakes for Child’s Pose
Child’s Pose (Sanskrit name: Balasana) is one of the first yoga poses beginners learn. It is named for its similarity to the shape of a fetus in utero, which also makes it philosophically appropriate as a staple asana for a nascent yoga practice. It is safe, accessible and useful for almost everyone. Child’s Pose can be very restful and grounding, and can provide a restorative respite in the midst of an active yoga practice.
Benefits of Child's Pose
In addition to being simple and accessible to many bodies, Child’s Pose provides numerous benefits. It can help relieve tension in the neck, back, and shoulders. In some cases, it can also help relieve lower back pain.
The yoga posture also provides a stretch for the hips, thighs, and ankles. Provided your knees can handle the degree of flexion, it also provides a stretch for them. Balasana stretches the length of the spine and allows for deeper inhalations.
Balasana is often used in Restorative Yoga to help quiet the mind and restore energy. It is a wonderful yoga pose to use in a sequence before bedtime. Like all forward folds, Child’s Pose turns the focus inward and provides a moment of calm in our ever-moving lives.
How to Practice Child's Pose
- Begin on your hands and knees on a yoga mat. Place a folded blanket on top of the mat if you’d like extra padding.
- Now settle your hips back onto your heels, bend forward and rest your forehead on the floor. Place a blanket on your calves, behind the crease of your knees, if your knees are at all uncomfortable. If your head doesn’t reach the floor, place a folded blanket or yoga block under your forehead.
- Extend your arms out overhead, placing your palms on the floor. Walk your fingers out along the floor until your arms are completely straight.
- Take a few breaths with your arms actively extended, and then release your arms to your sides and turn your palms up. Allow your shoulder blades to slide out to the sides of your ribcage.
- Imagine that your back is shaped like a tortoise shell, and draw the breath into your back, expanding it out in all directions. Let your breath massage your back from the inside. On your exhalations, let go of any tension you feel anywhere in your body.
- Take as many breaths here as you like. When you are ready to come out of the yoga pose, place your hands under your shoulders, ground your shins and knees, press with your hands, and slowly roll your spine up, lifting your head last, so that you are eventually sitting on your heels. Relax and breathe naturally.
Child’s pose is a resting pose so feel free to make whatever modifications you need to feel comfortable and supported in the pose.
Try some of these suggestions:
- Place a bolster vertically between your thighs and along your torso. Slowly release down on it and rest your forehead or cheek. If your torso is long, add a block or blanket stack to rest your head.
- Place a rolled towel under the shins if your ankles are uncomfortable.
- Keep the knees closer if spreading them creates any strain.
- Place a blanket under your knees or feet to take any pressure off them.