How To Master The Child’s Pose (Balasana)
The Child’s Pose (Balasana) is a healing posture that focuses on calming the mind and body through a deep connection of the breath.
The Child’s Pose (Balasana) is a healing pose usually incorporated at the end of most yoga sequences.
The pose focuses on calming the mind and body through the deep connection of the breath. It is fair to say that all yoga poses aim at connecting the breath to the body.
However, the Child’s pose is different as it possesses restorative qualities. Certain poses can be challenging, resulting in stretching the chest, abdominals, and hips. For example, poses like The Warrior or the Crescent Low Lunge compress the chest, preventing comfortable-deep breathing.
Yet this is not the case with the Balasana pose. The upper body is primarily bent forward in the Child’s pose, allowing the chest and abdominal muscles to relax.
In turn, this results in deeper breathing and relaxation.
The Child’s Pose Benefits
All yoga poses have unique benefits — The Child’s Pose is no exception. Primarily this pose focuses on deep stretching of the neck, shoulders, lower back, hips, hamstrings, and knees.
Here are a few other health-related benefits of The Child’s (Balasana) pose:
- Releases Back Tension: Lower back tension is no stranger to many who endure its uncomfortable aches and pains. Fortunately, the Child’s Pose can improve tension in the lower back and the neck, shoulders and hamstrings. Active forward folding of the abdominal muscles causes the tailbone to point up and outwards, elongating the spine. As a result, the lower back gets a deep stretch that helps release built-up tension.
- Promotes Healthy Blood Circulation: Restorative poses like the Child’s Pose are excellent at increasing blood circulation to the head, spine and other vital organs. While in a forward fold, the gaze will slope downwards, increasing oxygen flow to the head. This is one of the reasons why many incorporate Balasana in the morning — as it promotes a steady boost of energy throughout the body.
- Brings a Greater Sense of Awareness: Breathwork is the key in any yoga sequence, particularly with each pose. Therefore, The Child’s Pose is a great restorative posture that helps deepen the breath. In addition, having an extended spine, relaxed shoulders, tucked-in chest, and bent knees alleviates tension in the body, allowing for better concertation and a greater sense of calm.
- Opens the Hips: The Child’s pose can effectively alleviate hip pain. As the torso and knees are actively bent forward, allowing the hips to open. Stretching the hips can also benefit the rest of the body as you move through more challenging poses. If the hips are very tight, start by keeping both knees together. Then, as the hips warm-up, you can slowly spread the knees for a deeper stretch.
Balasana is considered a restorative pose great as a warm-up before more challenging poses. It can also be an excellent tool to cool down the body after workouts or other yoga sequences. Find out how to do master Balasana below.
- Begin in a seated position on the mat. Take a few deep breaths here and examine how the body feels.
- Slowly start to transition by placing both knees on the mat.
- Spread the knees as wide as you can towards the edges of the yoga mat.
- Keep the toes/feet touching while the knees are spread wide.
- Raise the buttocks slightly off the heels, and fold the torso forward on an exhale.
- Keep the torso over the thighs and rest the forehead on the floor, blanket or yoga block.
- Reach both arms in front past the head or place both arms on each side of the thighs. You should feel a stretch along with the shoulder blades and neck.
- Remain here for a series of deep breaths before releasing back to a seated position.
*We recommend going at your speed — if you feel any sharp pain, stop stretching immediately. Instead, identify where the pain is located and adjust the pose (if possible) to your comfort.
As a base pose, Balasana has many variations. Use the following to warm up the body in preparation for more challenging yoga poses or relax the body with a few cool-down variations and modifications.
- Tabletop to Child’s Pose: Start in a table-top position. On an exhale, follow steps 5–8. Remain here for a few calming breaths before releasing and rasing back up on your next big inhale.
- Knees Together: If you’re feeling stiff and notice that the legs have a hard time spreading wide, try keeping both knees close together. Follow through with the rest of the steps.
- Reverse Prayer Pose: Follow the steps listed above but instead of reaching both arms in front, keep them lifted above the head with the elbows touching the floor. Join both psalms together in a prayer pose. Keep the shoulders and neck relaxed.
- Frog Pose: Follow steps 1–3. Turn both feet opposite each other, close to the yoga mat’s edges. Lift the hips high and place your inner feet, ankles and knees flat on the floor. Proceed to lower your forearms onto the mat with the psalm faced down. Stay here for a few breaths or follow-through by extending both arms outwards passes the head. Keep the chin to the floor, chest open and core engaged (avoid concaving the lower back). To release slowly, bring the forearms back to the floor before moving the rest of the body back to a seated position.
Are you feeling dizzy? Sit and keep your head down; this will allow more oxygen to flow to your head.
Apply a cold compress to the back of your neck to avoid fainting or if you are experiencing feelings of nausea. If dizziness continues, stop altogether. If you have any concerns or questions, talk to your doctor to determine what best suits your needs.
Who Should Avoid
Be cautious of how your body is reacting. There may be risks associated with practicing this pose if you have preexisting conditions like:
- Wrist or knee pain
- Recent injury (lower back, spine, shoulders, hips, knees, or ankles)
It’s important to talk to your doctor or health care provider if you are experiencing unusual pain or discomfort.
In most cases, your doctor will do a health assessment and provide possible solutions to overcome the pain. Set the time for yourself to avoid rushing through each pose and risk of injury.
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