Ananda Balasana: Happy Baby Pose

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Ananda balasana (ah-NAHN-duh bah-LAHS-ah-nah) stretches the inner groin, hamstrings, and lower back. Invite the attitude of a joyful baby with this pose!

Philosophy and Origin:

Dasharatha, the King of Ayodhya, was a famous warrior and a protector of dharma (life purpose). He had three wives and no children. He 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.

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 each person 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.

Sanskrit:

  • Ananda: blissful, pure bliss
  • Bala: baby
  • Asana: pose

Physical Benefits:

  • Opens and stretches the hips.
  • Stretches the inner groins and hamstrings.
  • Lengthens the spine.

Preparatory Poses:

Sequential Poses:

  • Cow face pose | Gomukhasana
  • Reclined twist

Counter Poses:

Adjustments/Modifications:

  • Hold your ankles or shins.
  • Place a blanket under your neck.
  • Hold each foot with a yoga strap looped around the middle arch of each foot.

Step-By-Step:

  1. Start on your back with your knees drawn in toward your chest.
  2. Grab hold of the pinky toe sides of your feet, with your elbows on the inside of your knees.
  3. Draw your shoulders toward the ground, tone your arms, and flex your feet as you pull down on your feet.
  4. Draw your knees wide and toward your armpits and try to stack ankles above knees.
  5. Lengthen your lower back down to the ground.
  6. Stay here for up to one minute, and then release and draw your knees into your chest.

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Virabhadrasana III: Warrior III Pose

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ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS   |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Warrior III, or virabhadrasana (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-ah-nah) III, is a challenging pose of balance and strength.

Philosophy + Origin

A fierce warrior, Virabhadra is often depicted as having a thousand heads, eyes, and feet. Draped in the skin of a tiger, this warrior wields a thousand clubs. In Virabhadra’s origin story, he is created from a single dreadlock from Shiva’s head, a manifestation of the rage he feels upon feeling like his true love has died. The shape of virabhadrasana III comes from this story, the moment when Virabhadra beheads the king Daksha and extends forward to place the head on a stake.

Despite the outward appearance and violent origin, this powerful pose is actually a great reminder of our own inner strength and the measures we would take in the name of true love.

Read Article

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