The Happy Baby Pose, or Ananda Balasana is a wonderful opportunity to give your back a proper, deep massage it has always needed. It relaxes the whole body and has a positive calming effect, reducing stress and anxiety. At the same time, muscles of the main body parts are being actively stretched and engaged.
1.) Begin lying on your mat.
2.) Bend your knees into your body, hug your knees.
3.) Reach for the outside of your feet and hold on to the soles of your feet. Extend your legs into a 90-degree angle.
4.) Pull your feet towards your body, pulling your knees further towards your body. Keep your back, neck and head flat on the ground.
5.) Enjoy the stretch in your hips and groin. You may rock back and forth to massage the back.
6.) To release, simply let go of your feet and release your legs and arms back to the mat.
Happy Baby Pose truly does wonders to your back and spine. While actively engaging the abdominal muscles, it stretches the whole spine and the tailbone simultaneously. Thanks to that, any pain, discomfort or tension in the area is reduced, also making it easier to maintain a proper posture comfortably.
Happy Baby Pose actively stretches the muscles of different areas of the body including the muscles of the shins, the hamstrings, the hips as well as the muscles of the shoulder region - the triceps and the quadriceps. Because of that, it also excellently opens the chest.
By giving the spine a deep massage, Happy Baby Pose has a really relaxing effect on the nervous system, quieting and calming us down. The stress and anxiety levels are reduced and in the end, it only affects the rest of the body systems positively e.g. Happy Baby Pose reduces elevated blood pressure and heart rate as well as helps to maintain them at a healthy level.
If you feel like deepening the stretch of the leg at a particular side of the body, then so - called Half Happy Baby Pose is for you. To do it, starting from the original version of the pose, let one of your legs straight and loose on the ground, same for the analogical arm, palm flat facing the ground, toes of the foot pointing upwards. The second leg, the one you want to stretch more deeply, remains as in the original version of the Happy Baby Pose. You can move that leg to the side if you feel like this is providing to the stretch.
If you would like to open the hips extra deeply to prepare yourself for e.g. the splits pose or other deeper hip openers, do an analogical variation of Happy Baby Pose described above but grab the foot of the stretched leg by both arms while the second leg legs loose flat on the ground.
Starting from the original pose, move your knees still bent to the sides so that the soles of the feet can touch each other flat. Grab the touching feet with both of your hands and try to bring the feet as close to the abdomen as possible to deepen the stretch maximally.