Ananda Balasana (AH-nan-duh bah-LAHS-anna), also known as the Happy Baby Pose, is a basic pose that is found in many contemporary yoga routines, and is known to stretch the inner groin and lower back while calming the mind by relieving the stresses of daily life. 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. Pay attention to how Happy Baby Pose affects your breathing.
Philosophy and Origin:
Dasharatha, the King of Ayodhya, was a famous warrior and a protector of dharma. He had three wives and no children. HeTop of Form longed for an heir, and Mother Earth was seeking a protector to save her bounty from unscrupulous and devious desires. Tradition teaches that as the wick of dharma burns low, Vishnu the preserver uses birth to set things right again. Mother Earth’s call meant that Vishnu would return.
Each child’s birth was unusual. After performing a sacrifice that yielded a golden milk pudding, the king was instructed to share this bounty with his wives with the promise of fertility and children. Each of his wives became pregnant and would give birth to all of his children. It is often thought that the divine is born into us on a regular basis and unexpectedly, and we can understand this story as an allegory of how we treat our minds and bodies: avatars and other deities represent potentials waiting to be realized. Myths and their characters represent parts of us.
- Ananda: blissful, pure bliss
- Bala: baby
- Asana: pose
This easy contemporary pose stretches the groin and back. While this can help with relief from discomfort and prevent strain, exercise caution. Go slowly and don’t push your body beyond its limits.
- Opens and stretches the hips
- Stretches the inner groins
- Lengthens and helps to realign the spine
- Strengthens the arms and shoulders
- Relieves stress
- Calms the mind
Mudra: Kalesvara Mudra
We recommend incorporating the Kalesvara Mudra into your Happy Baby exercise, as it is believed to help shape and control the mind, calming us when we are flooded with thoughts. This mudra helps to slow the breathing rhythm down and all you to examine your situations from a new perspective. Practiced for ten minutes before and/or after your pose, this Mudra will enhance the clarifying benefits of your routine.
Touch the pads of each middle finger to one another. Then, touch the first two knuckles of the index fingers together. Finally, touch both thumb pads together, bending the other two fingers gently inward. Keep your thumbs pointing towards your chest while spreading your elbows out.
As this pose is a clarifying exercise in stretching the body and relieving the mind, focusing on a chant such as So Hum will allow you to return to that simple state, recognizing who you are and what you are. This chant is often used as a simple meditation due to its unifying and repetitive nature.
So Hum, So Hum
Translation: I am that, that I am
- Adho Mukha Svanasana
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 or ankle injuries
- Extremely tight hips
- Hold the inside arches of your feet
- Hold your ankles
- Place a blanket under your neck
- If you have trouble holding your feet with your hands, try holding each foot with a yoga strap looped around the middle arch of each foot
- Start on your back with your knees drawn in towards your chest.
- Grab hold of your feet with your hands. Ensure your arms are in front of your shins, and you are holding on to the outside edges of your feet.
- Draw your shoulders on to your back, tone your arms and flex your feet as you pull down on your feet.
- Draw your knees wide and toward your armpits and try to stack ankles above knees.
- Lengthen your lower back down to the ground, trying to touch the tip of your tailbone to the floor.
- Stay here for 1 minute, and then release and draw your knees in to your chest.