This asana is sometimes also referred to as Child’s Pose with a Twist (or in Sanskrit Balasana with a Twist), Face Down Forward Reclining Twist with a Bolster, or Spinal Twist. Whatever name you decide to use, this is a great relaxation pose to relieve stress in the neck, shoulders, and lower back. Also, as a twist it also helps to massage the abdominal organs which helps to improve digestion. Lastly, it helps to lengthen the spine which is great for sciatica pain.
As always, even though there are many benefits to this asana, there are some contraindications that you should be cautious of. Be cautious in this asana if you or your students have high or low blood pressure, diarrhea, insomnia, have a headache, or are in their menstruation cycle. Also, make sure you and your students breath normally through this asana. As a twist some will start to breathe to quickly or forget to breath.
Notice that pregnancy is not a contraindication for this asana. This is because the variation discussed in your textbook is a slight twist of the upper torso instead of a twist in the abdomen. Because of this, this asana is usually safe for pregnant students, however, as always the students should check with their doctor be before any physical activity. For a breakdown on how to practice this asana, refer to your textbook “RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR LIFE”.
Note: There is a variation of this asana where a deeper twist is done in the abdomen. This variation is practiced where both shoulders are brought toward the bolster so that the stomach is on the bolster with the hands and forearms resting on the floor next to the bolster. The top leg, with the knee still bent, is then brought down so that the inner thigh rests on the the bottom foot. This variation of the asana is not an acceptable twist for a student that is pregnant. However, this variation is acceptable for a standard Restorative Yoga class, so we have provided a video demonstration of this variation below.
Lastly, as explained in your textbook “RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR LIFE”, there is a chakra that is benefited by this asanas and the doshic balance is also affected. See below for a simple breakdown.
Chakra Three: Solar Plexus, Self-Power, or Manipura (lustrous gem) Chakra. This is the combustion, power, and energy chakra. Its goals are vitality, strength of will, and purpose. Its location is the solar plexus.
Vata This dosha is increased in this asana.
Pitta This dosha is increased in this asana.
Kapha This dosha is decreased in this asana.