Child’s Pose
BĀLĀSANA (बालासन)
(Bah-LAHS-anna)

 


‘Bāla’= child, young, or baby, ‘āsana’= posture


Alternate Names

Child’s Resting Pose

Round Back Child’s Pose
Baby Pose
Child Pose

Difficulty Level: Beginner
Pose Type: Forward-Bend / Kneeling / Stretch / Prone / Restorative

1. Start in Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana), kneeling with your feet tucked under and your thighs over your calf muscles. Your shins should be parallel to each other with the tops of your feet on the mat.
2. Slowly bring your chest down to rest on your thighs, sinking your hips, and lengthening your tailbone down.
3. Stretch your head forward, lengthening the back of the neck, until your forehead touches the ground. Reach your arms out in front of you and walk your hands forward to help lengthen your spine.
4. Keeping your neck soft, bring your arms back and stretch them toward your feet alongside your body with your palms up.
5. Relax as you stretch your spine and back muscles and allow your back to create a dome shape. Use the weight of your shoulders to stretch and lightly spread the shoulder blades. Feel gravity pulling you to the ground and support you.
6. Take full, deep, and calming breaths. When you are ready, place your hands under your shoulders and press through the palms to slowly come back to Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana).

Common Adjustments
• Buttock raised off of heels
• Lifting heels / Feet not relaxed
• Feet not relaxed
• Forehead not reaching the ground
• Lifting the chin too high
• Back not rounded or arched like a dome
• Shoulder blades not slightly spread and/or shoulders up by the ears
• Knees knocking together or bowing out
• Calf muscles not parallel

Modifications
• Students who have difficulty bending forward without lifting their buttock off their calf muscles, have trouble breathing, or are pregnant, can open the knees wide and bring their toes together. Then they can bend forward into extended child with their arms outstretched reaching for the wall in front of them. Place a blanket, pillow, or bolster on the lap (under the hips) to relieve discomfort if needed. Students who have difficulty breathing can also turn their head to the side.
• To relax the lower back muscles, place a small bolster or sandbag on the lower back. It should be heavy enough to be felt, but not so heavy that it takes away your ability to relax.
• For students who have difficulty rounding their back, place a blanket, pillow, or bolster between the upper thighs and belly for the student to hug and rest on. If this does not work, place the blanket, pillow, or bolster, under the knees, slightly elevating the front of the body.
• For students with back discomfort, they can use a chair to rest on instead of bending to the floor.
• For students with knee discomfort, place a folded or rolled blanket under the knees for support and protection from pressure and stress. You can also place a blanket, pillow, or bolster between the buttock and heels, or the hamstrings and calf muscles, if the stretch in the knees is too deep.
• For students with ankle discomfort or their foot muscles are cramping, place a rolled blanket or bolster under the ankles for support. Alternatively, they can tuck their toes under.
• For neck strain, have students either rest their head on their arms or place a folded blanket, pillow, bolster, or block in front for them to rest their chest and/or head on.
• Students with shoulder discomfort should do Extended Child’s Pose with their arms stretched out in front with the back of their hands resting on the on the floor, rotating the upper arms.

Counter Poses
• Supine Hero (Supta Virasana)
• Supine Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)
• Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Anatomy
• Neck• Shoulders (Deltoid)
• Biceps and Triceps• Upper (Cervical), Middle (Thoracic), and Lower (Lumbar) Back and Spine
• Hips (Psoas)• Gluteus Maximums and Medius
• Quadriceps and Hamstrings• Calf muscles
• Knees• Ankles

Benefits
• Stretches the neck, shoulders, back, spine, hips, quadriceps, hamstrings, knees, and ankles.
• Increases blood circulation which helps to reduce headache / migraine discomfort with pinched nerves.
• Calms the mind, body, and nervous system which helps relieve fatigue, anxiety, stress, insomnia, and tension. Tension is especially relieved in the shoulders, neck, head, spine, chest, and back when the head and torso are supported. This also helps with breath awareness and relaxation.
• Opens the hips, pelvic floor, and the upper and lower back.
• Helps reduce restless leg syndrome.
• Massages internal organs which improves digestion.

Contraindications
1. This posture should be avoided if you have a severe knee injury, injury to the ankles, cartilage or ligament tears, severe spondylitis, high blood pressure, a stomach infection or intestinal discomfort, diarrhea, an ear infection or eye infection.
2. If you are pregnant or have a mild knee injury, a modification and/or prop should be used.
3. This posture should be avoided, if you have headaches or migraines, unless the arms are kept lower.

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra Two:Sacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
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.
Chakra Six:Third-Eye or Ajna (to perceive) Chakra. This is the intuition and projection chakra. Its goals are psychic perception and imagination. Its location is the brow.



Additional information on this asana can be found in your textbooks

  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, this posture can be found in Chapter 11 – Restorative Postures as “Balasana – Child’s Pose”.
    • Watch the Chapter 11 video “Balasana” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an additional example of how to practice this asana.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthew, this posture can be found in Chapter 10 – KNEELING POSES as “BALASANA – Child’s Pose”.

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