HOW TO PRACTICE Happy Baby Pose IN YOGA (Ananda Balasana)
Benefits, How to Instructions, Modifications, and Common Alignment Mistakes for Happy Baby Pose
Happy Baby Pose (Sanskrit name: Ananda Balasana) is a soothing pose that many yogis look forward to at the end of a long, vigorous practice. Because it’s practiced in a supine position, Happy Baby Pose provides a safe, spine-healthy way to stretch the inner thighs, hips and hamstrings. It is often included in Restorative Yoga practice because of its stress-relieving qualities.
Benefits of Happy Baby Pose
Happy Baby Pose stretches the inner thighs, hips, and hamstrings and helps alleviate pressure in the sacrum and lower back. Happy Baby also stretches the spine, chest, and shoulders. This yoga pose can reduce stress, and aids in calming the nervous system.
Happy Baby Pose massages the abdominal organs, making it a great pose for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Ananda Balasana is also said to assist in lymph drainage as it massages and stimulates the lymph nodes in the hips.
Basic Happy Baby Pose
- Lie down on your back, on your yoga mat, blanket, or directly on the floor.
- Bend your knees, holding onto your shins, and then hug them in toward your chest. Draw the legs in gently, so that your sacrum stays on the ground.
- Rock gently side to side, massaging the lower back against the floor.
- Start to extend your legs slightly, so that your knees open to a 90-degree angle. Reach for the soles of your feet with your hands. If you aren’t able to reach your feet while keeping your sacrum rooted, hold the backs of your thighs instead.
- Gently pull on your feet or the backs of your thighs, drawing your knees toward the outsides of your ribcage.
- When you feel a moderate stretch, hold and breathe.
- Breathe at the easeful edge of your stretch, feeling into all the areas of sensation in your body.
- Close your eyes as you feel into the hips, legs and abdomen, breathing slowly through your nostrils.
- After several breaths, gently release your feet to the ground.
- Follow with several rounds of windshield wiper knees—alternating dropping bent knees to one side and then the other.