Child’s Pose, or in Sanskrit Bālāsana (Bah-LAHS-anna), is one of the best relaxation and restoration asanas. Though this is a great beginners pose, there are some students that may have difficulty in this asana. Especially students with tight hamstrings or students that have a hard time getting down to the ground. Because of this, many variations and modifications are available. First lets look at the traditional asana. See the below picture with cues and video for a visual aid of the traditional asana and some variations.
Your textbook “RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR LIFE” provides a great breakdown for this asana, along with a couple of variations using props, that are perfect for a Restorative Yoga class. For additional information on modifications, see the below video that demonstrates Option 1 in your textbook along with a list of different modifications under that.
• 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.
By practicing this asana, in any variation, you will find that there are many benefits that can be gained.
• 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.
Even with the above modifications, and the benefits that can be found, there are a few contraindications that need to be discussed.
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.
Now that we have a working knowledge of this asana, lets look at the affected chakras and how the doshic balance is affected. You will see that this asana is truly a whole body asana. Due to the many variations and modifications that can be made, this asana affects the energy flow throughout your body which affects all of the chakras in one way or another. That makes this asana a great way to end your class and prepare your students for the the rest of their day or night.
Vata This dosha is decreased in this asana.
Pitta This dosha is increased in this asana.
Kapha This dosha is increased in this asana.
Additional information on this asana
- In the textbook “YOGA: THE PATH TO HOLISTIC HEALTH by B.K.S. Iyengar you can find an alternate asana that is similar is setup to this one.
- CHAPTER 5: YOGA FOR STRESS
- Asanas for Stress
- Adhomukha Virasana (Downward-facing hero pose)
- Asanas for Stress
- CHAPTER 5: YOGA FOR STRESS