Balasana

Child’s Pose is the quintessential self-care pose. Learn how to modify your body by finding comfort, ease, contentment, and maximum restoration at any moment during your practice or day.

STEP BY STEP

  • A Begin kneeling, with your buttocks resting on your heels at the back of your mat.
  • B Touch your big toes together and keep your knees about as wide as your shoulders.
  • C Fold at your hips so that your torso rests on your thighs.
  • D Reach your arms forward. E Place your hands shoulder-width apart with your fingers gently fanning open.
  • F Straighten your elbows and keep your arms alert and active.
  • G Rest your forehead on your mat.
  • H Press down firmly with every knuckle and every fingertip. Give particular attention to rooting down with the base of each index finger.
  • I Crawl your fingertips forward any amount on your inhalations and lengthen your spine and sides.
  • J On your exhalations, release your tailbone toward your heels to anchor the pose.
  • K Hold for anywhere from a few breaths to a few minutes, then release.

KEEP YOUR ARMS ACTIVE

This will lengthen your spine. If your shoulders are tense, try an adaptation resting your arms by your sides.

BE MINDFUL OF YOUR KNEES

If you feel any pain or strain, try an adaptation.

MOVE YOUR TAILBONE TOWARD YOUR HEELS

And lengthen your lower back.

Balasana Adaptations

SWEET SURRENDER

The first pose I teach is Balasana. For many of us, this asana possesses a deep physical and psychological memory of our time as infants. The shape of the pose is useful for many reasons, but in particular, it forces you to confront your attitudes and patterns of breathing, the health of your organs, and your level of awareness in moving from the abdomen. It is a very simple pose, to begin with physically, yet it requires patience and the ability to surrender to gravity and a state of nondoing.

 

CHILD’S POSE WITH A BOLSTER

For a more restorative version, begin on your hands and knees. Place the bolster vertically between your inner thighs and slowly release down onto it for support. A rolled blanket or pillow placed between the backside of your thighs and calves may provide further support for your knees. Bring your forehead or cheek to the bolster. If resting a cheek on the bolster, be sure to flip to the opposite cheek to maintain an even stretch across both sides of the neck. If you have a longer torso, you may need to utilize a block under your forehead or cheek to ensure your neck is in line with the rest of your spine. Remain in the pose as long as you like.

CHILD’S POSE WITH A BLOCK

If Child’s Pose is not restful for you, stay lifted. Begin on your forearms and knees. Rest your forehead on a block for support. Your toes can tuck under or release down to the floor. Remain in the pose as long as you like.

CHILD’S POSE WITH MULTIPLE PROPS

This variation can be more supportive if you have knee pain, hip pain, or limited flexibility. Begin on your hands and knees. Place a rolled blanket, pillow, or bolster between the backsides of your thighs and calves. Come to your forearms and consider resting your head on blocks. Remain in the pose as long as you like.

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