Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Child's Pose (Balasana) via flckr
Pronunciation: bah-LAHS-anna
Pose Type: Seated

Child’s pose, or Balasana, is one of the most calming yoga poses. It is a resting seated pose that invokes the fetal position and so it is a full-body healing pose. The anatomical focus is on the thighs, but the pose releases tension in the shoulders, neck, back, and hips too. When performed with an open mind, the gravitational pull of Balasana infuses the yoga with strong emotional relief.

While the goal of child’s pose is to have your forehead touching the ground on the floor in front of you while your buttocks remain in contact with your heels, this may be too strenuous for some. If so, a folded towel or blanket fitted between the back of the thigh and calves can relieve the pressure.

Child’s pose is a great partner pose too. Have your partner sit behind you and once you release fully into the pose, they can place their hands on both sides of your lower back just above the hip joints and on the exhale, gently apply pressure forward and down to extend the stretch.

Pose Sequence

Yoga teachers recommend that yogis come into this pose anytime during their practice when they feel tired or dizzy or experience anything troubling during their practice. It is a resting pose that is included during some yoga sequences too.

  1. Starting by kneeling on your mat, with big toes touching and sit on your heels.
  2. You can spread the knees wide or keep them close together.
  3. Exhale and lay your torso down onto or between your thighs, depending on their position.
  4. Broaden your lower back and lengthen the tailbone away from you while you lift the base of the skull away from the neck.
  5. Lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso, palms facing up, or stretch them out long in front of you, palms facing down.
  6. Allow the weight across your upper back and shoulder blades to expand and release toward each side of the body.

Stay in the pose for as long as it takes to feel the full release. To come up, first lengthen the front torso and lift the head off the mat inline with the spine. On an inhale, lift from the tailbone by releasing it down and into the pelvic area. You should feel an expansiveness in the chest and a sense of full release after this pose.

Benefits of Child’s Pose, or Balasana

The benefits of this pose include:

  • Rest and release of the back and neck
  • Calming the mind and relieving stress
  • Gently stretching the hips, thighs, and ankles
  • Flexes the internal organs and keeps them supple

Balasana allows the yogi to breath fully into the back of the torso by imagining each inhale causing an expansion of the torso and a widening of the spine. With each exhale, release the torso more deeply into the fold.

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