Child’s Pose, or Balasana, is a wonderfully relaxing pose which is part of most yoga routines as a moment to pause. Child’s Pose is about releasing yourself to the world and trusting that everything will be alright. It is a moment to simply breathe. The name comes from the relaxed sleep of a contented child.
1.) Begin kneeling on your knees and move forward to your hands and knees.
2.) Separate your knees to accommodate your body’s width as best you can and kneel back onto your legs.
3.) Exhale. Lower your body down toward the mat with your hands out flat on the mat in front of you. Nestle yourself down into space. Lengthen your spine out. Let your forehead touch the mat.
4.) To deepen the pose push the palms of your hands into the mat and stretch your upper back and shoulder blades as you sit back. Breathe. You can hold this pose for up to five minutes.
Child’s Pose is a wonderful way to stretch the hip in a supported, gentle manner. There is no twisting or turning, no supporting yourself or stressing. Everything in your body is supposed to relax, fully supported by the legs and floor.
Child’s Pose is a quieting, relaxing pose where everything else falls away. You can close your eyes. Let your mind go blank. There is nothing to worry about and no pose to hold in a certain position. This is the perfect time to practice mindfulness.
Child’s Pose is a very soft stretch of the back, just the rounding that naturally occurs as it moves from the hips to the neck. There is no additional stretch added to that position. That allows the stretch to be enjoyed by a wide variety of body shapes and sizes.
If you get any sort of pain at all by having your weight back on your feet, try adding a soft blanket in between your feet and your buttocks. That layer of buffering might be able to help with the sensation.
To give yourself a longer stretch as you settle in to Child’s Pose, stretch your arms out in front of you. Let your buttocks rise a bit up off your heels. Stretch the arms and draw the spine back at the same time, all the way down through your buttocks. Let them settle back against your heels. Then return your arms to your side. You can also just leave your arms out in front of you, if you prefer.
We all have different body shapes and sizes. If your body does not feel comfortable with the space currently provided by your legs, try changing it up. Maybe try spreading your legs wider to provide more space. Maybe try bringing your legs together so that your body lies fully on top of them. It might mean that you need to hold this pose for a shorter time period to start with. The more you practice and stretch, the more your body will get used to the movements and find one that is comfortable for you.
Some of us have sore noses. Some have neck issues. It’s fine to turn your head to figure out where yours works best. You can have your head rest on a cheek. On its side. You can put your hands in front of you to act as a pillow, or you can use an actual pillow. If you need to, you can put an entire bolster beneath your abdomen up to your head and use it all as a large pillow. The key is to find a position that works well for you in your current situation.