Balasana: Child’s Pose

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Balasana (bah-LAHS-ah-nah) is a gentle resting pose that stretches the low back, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles while inviting release of stress and tension. Balasana’s dome shape provides an opportunity to refocus and focus on yourself.

Sanskrit:

  • Bala: child
  • Asana: pose

Physical Benefits:

  • Gently stretches the low back, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles.
  • Relaxes the spine, shoulders, and neck.
  • Increases blood circulation to your head, which may relieve headaches.

Energetic Benefits:

  • Calms the mind and central nervous system.
  • Relieves stress, fatigue, and tension.

Preparatory Poses:

  • Tabletop pose
  • Cat pose

Sequential Poses:

  • Puppy dog pose | Anahatasana
  • Seated forward fold | Paschimottanasana
  • Hero’s pose | Virasana

Counter Poses:

Adjustments/Modifications:

  • Place your forehead on your fist or a cushion if your head does not easily rest on the floor.
  • If your knees are uncomfortable, place a cushion between your hips and your heels for support.
  • If your ankles or feet are uncomfortable, place a thin cushion or rolled up towel under your ankles.

Step-By-Step:

  1. Start in a tabletop shape, on your hands and knees.
  2. Release the tops of your feet to the floor and bring your knees wider than your hips, big toes touching.
  3. Slowly lower your hips towards your heels.
  4. Walk your hands forward and rest your head on the floor or a prop.
  5. Take several slow breaths into your belly and chest.
  6. Gently release back to tabletop.

 

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Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Bhujangasana (boo-jang-GAHS-anna) is a great way to strengthen the upper back and is often practiced as part of a transition back to downward-facing dog in vinyasa yoga. Practicing cobra pose regularly can improve your lung capacity, reduce stress, and stimulate many of the internal organs in your body.

Philosophy + Origin

Although often perceived as evil or dangerous, snakes also have a rich history of power and worship. In some yoga traditions, the energy of kundalini is represented by a serpent resting coiled at the base of the spine. By awakening this snake, we enliven our body’s energy and create a pathway towards enlightenment. This connection with enlightenment is also seen in many portrayals of the Buddha where he is shown with a cobra over his head.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Option to swap cobra pose for sphinx pose by placing your forearms on the floor.
  • Lengthen the back of the neck to avoid straining the neck and upper back.
  • If you experience discomfort in the lower back, bend the elbows more.
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