Balasana: Child’s Pose
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.
- Bala: child
- Asana: pose
- 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.
- Calms the mind and central nervous system.
- Relieves stress, fatigue, and tension.
- Tabletop pose
- Cat pose
- Puppy dog pose | Anahatasana
- Seated forward fold | Paschimottanasana
- Hero’s pose | Virasana
- Cow pose
- Sphinx pose | Salamba bhujangasana
- 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.
- Start in a tabletop shape, on your hands and knees.
- Release the tops of your feet to the floor and bring your knees wider than your hips, big toes touching.
- Slowly lower your hips towards your heels.
- Walk your hands forward and rest your head on the floor or a prop.
- Take several slow breaths into your belly and chest.
- Gently release back to tabletop.
Malasana: Squat Pose or Garland Pose
A great stretch for ankles and the lower back, Malasana (mahl-AH-sana), which is also referred to as Squat or Garland pose, opens the groin and tones the belly. While comfortable for some, Malasana can be difficult for others. Appropriate adjustments and modifications can help students enjoy the benefits of this posture while strengthening and opening the muscles needed to practice Malasana and other postures.
Philosophy + Origin
There are many beautiful attempts to defend the translation of Malasana as “Garland Pose.” While mala most commonly refers to a garland or rosary, many students have a difficult time understanding how this imagery applies to the pose. Some teachers argue that the shape of the body depicts the bead on a mala, or perhaps the arms look like a mala or garland hanging from the neck. Other teachers will use the story of how this posture is traditionally taken when receiving the gift of a garland from a spiritual teacher. While all very poetic, there’s another lesser-known understanding of Malasana that makes more sense. The word mala can also be translated as excrement. Considering the digestive benefits of this posture, it makes a lot more sense.