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Balasana: Child’s Pose


By: Gaia Staff  |  September 27, 2016

Pose Guide

Balasana (bah-LAHS-anna), also known as Child’s Pose, is a gentle resting pose that stretches the hips, thighs and legs while calming the mind and relieving stress and tension. During this exercise, make sure to maintain a focus on your breathing. We often forget to consciously focus on our breathing, taking full breathes throughout the entire exercise. Balasana’s dome shape provides the perfect pose for refocusing and enhancing the benefits of our inhales and exhales.

Sanskrit:

  • Bala: child
  • Asana: pose

Tips:

This mild resting pose stretches the lower back, hips and legs. While this can help with relief from discomfort and prevent strain, exercise caution. Go slowly and don’t push your body beyond its limits.

Level:

Beginner (1)

Physical Benefits:

  • Gently stretches your lower back, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles
  • Relaxes your spine, shoulders, and neck
  • Increases blood circulation to your head, minimizing headache symptoms

Energetic Benefits:

Mudra: Prana Mudra

We recommend incorporating the Prana Mudra into your Child’s Pose exercise as it is believed to elicit our life force, or our prana, and activates the Svadhistana (Root) Chakra while stimulating the nourishing energy drawn from the floor.

How to: With each hand, place the tips of the thumb, ring finger and little finger together. Keep your other fingers extended. This mudra offers a stabilizing, calming preparation for the pose.

Mantra:

Om somaye namaha Mantra

As this pose is preparatory or finishing pose in nature and often is part of the opening or ending of a routine, the rejuvenating opening mantra is a purposeful way to start your exercise. Practice this mantra with your pose by repeating the following chant:

Om somaye namaha

Chanting this mantra during your exercise is believed to call upon the revitalizing and restorative nectar (soma) that the moon elicits in Hindu mythology. It is believed to be helpful in relieving stress that can leave us exhausted in our daily lives.

Preparatory Poses:

  • Virasana

Contraindications and Cautions:

This pose is a gentle, relaxing exercise, but you should still check with a doctor before performing the pose if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Knee injuries or problems like cartilage or ligament tears
  • Ankle problems
  • High blood pressure, eye or ear infections
  • Pregnancy
  • Diarrhea

Adjustments/Modifications:

  • Place your forehead on your fist or a cushion if your head does not easily rest on the floor
  • Leave arms forward, about shoulder width apart, if your head can rest on floor but neck is not comfortable or your buttocks are high from the heels
  • Place a cushion between the buttocks and your heels if the stretch across the knees is too deep
  • Place a thin cushion or rolled up towel under your ankles if the stretch is too deep for the ankle joint or if the foot muscles are cramping
  • To lengthen the torso, stretch both arms forward while barely lifting your buttocks up from your heels. Stretch the arms farther while you draw the shoulder blades down the back. Finally, without moving your arms or hands, gently sit down on the heels again.
  • Partnering during this exercise can help lengthen the curved “dome” shape of your back in this pose:
  1. Have your partner stand to the side, placing one hand at the base of your spine (sacrum area with fingers pointing towards the tailbone) and the other hand in the middle of your back with fingers pointing towards your head
  2. During your exhales, your partner can gently press your back downwards
  3. Keep communication with your partner open, asking for more or less pressure, but only apply the pressure during exhalation

Step-By-Step:

  1. Start by kneeling on your hands and knees
  2. Release your toes on the floor and separate your knees about hip width apart
  3. As you exhale, slowly lower your buttocks towards your heels, feeling the tailbone lengthen away from the back of your pelvis
  4. As your torso folds over your thighs, lengthen the back of your neck before your forehead rests on the floor
  5. Lay your arms by the thighs with palms facing up and feel how the weight of your shoulders lightly spreads the shoulder blades
  6. Take several slow breaths into the belly and lower your back as you rest here
  7. As you exit, inhale and lengthen the torso forward over the thighs and rise up as the tailbone presses down into the pelvis and towards the heels

Pose Guide

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Ben Owens

Ben Owens is writer, photographer, and creative strategist based out of Colorado. His greatest strength lies in his abstract reasoning and creative thinking skills. He’s the type of person that can look at an idea or concept and make connections between seemingly separate ideas that leave lasting impressions in his executions. Because of this, he has the invaluable ability to communicate intricate concepts in simple terms.
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