Happy Baby
ĀNANDA BĀLĀSANA (आनन्द बालासन)
(AH-nan-duh Bah-LAHS-anna)

 


‘Ānanda’= happiness, blissful, pure bliss, or divine joy, ‘Bāla’= child, young, or baby,
‘āsana’= posture


Alternate Names

Happy Child’s Pose
Joyful Baby
Dead Bug Pose
Spider Pose

Difficulty Level: Beginner
Pose Type: Supine / Stretch / Hip Opener / Restorative

1. Start in Corpse Pose (Savasana), except with your palms face down on the mat (Supine position).
2. Bend your knees, aligning them hip width apart, as you tighten your hamstrings to bring your heels towards your buttock.
3. Take a deep breath and then exhale as you engage your core muscles and quadriceps to begin lifting your thighs toward your chest. Continue lifting your legs, folding at the hips, to bring your thighs to your chest and your knees toward your armpits.
4. Place your arms in front of, or to the outside of, your knees and shins, and lift the soles of your feet so that they are flat and facing up toward the sky. Grab the outside of your feet.
5. Keep your shoulders relaxed and down, with your head and neck on the mat and in alignment with your spine. Your shoulder blades should be flat to the floor.
6. Hold the pose for several breaths, allowing the weight of your arms to pull the thighs down. Continue to relax and allow your tailbone and shoulders to fall toward the mat.
7. When ready, slowly release your legs. Lower your heels back down to the mat first and then lengthen your legs back into Corpse Pose (Savasana).

Common Adjustments
• Back rounded
• Arms over stretched / Elbows hyperextended
• Tension in the neck and shoulders
• Feet not flexed and flat and facing up
• Knees not pulled towards the armpits
• Head / Neck lifted off the mat
• Tailbone lifted instead of reaching toward the ground

Modifications
• Students with tight hamstrings or shoulders, or cannot reach their feet, can either: a) hold their calf muscles or behind their knees, b) hook their fingers around their big toes, c) place a strap over the middle arch of each foot and hold the straps as an extension of their arms, or d) they can place a bolster on their chest to wrap their legs and arms around.
• For students who have severely tight hips, hamstrings, and/or calf muscles, have them practice Half Happy Baby (Ardha Ananda Balasana) with the extended leg up against a wall. Alternatively, they can place the soles of their feet to the wall.
• Students with a tight neck or discomfort can place a blanket under their head for support.
• Students with lower back pain or discomfort can place a blanket below the lower back for support.
• Students with hip or knee discomfort can bring the knees closer together so they don’t put as much pressure on the inner thighs and knees.
• Students who would like to relieve back tension and reduce stress, can gently rock from side to side while in Happy Baby to massages the back.
• For students who would like a challenge, they can either: a) do Happy Baby while holding the inside of their feet, b) do Wide Happy Baby while reaching their knees to the floor, or c) they can practice Half Happy Baby (Ardha Ananda Balasana).
• Students who would like to increase their core strength can raise their arms straight toward the ceiling and then move their right leg and arm together in a back-and-forth motion, while the left leg and arm move together in the opposite direction.

Counter Poses
• Corpse (Savasana)
• Supine Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)
• Plow (Halasana)
• Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana) or Shoulder Stand, Supported (Salamba Sarvangasana)
• Hero (Virasana) or Supine Hero (Supta Virasana)
• Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Anatomy
• Chest (Pectoralis Major and Minor)• Shoulders (Deltoids)
• Biceps and Triceps• Abdomen (Core) and Obliques
• Upper (Cervical), Middle (Thoracic), and Lower (Lumbar) Back and Spine• Hips (Iliopsoas) and Groin
• Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus (Glutes)• Quadriceps and Hamstrings
• Calf muscles• Ankles and Feet

Benefits
• Stretches and strengthens the spine, chest, abdomen, biceps, triceps, hips, groin, hamstrings, and calf muscles. Lengthens the spine and helps with posture and alignment. This also helps to relieve low back stiffness and pain. This also Opens the chest, hips, pelvic floor, and the lower back.
• Calms the mind, body, and nervous system, which helps relieve fatigue, anxiety, stress, mild depression, insomnia, and tension. Tension is especially relieved in the shoulders, neck, head, spine, and back.
• Massages internal organs which improves digestion.
• Helps with breath awareness and relaxation, as well as relieves headaches.

Contraindications
1. Students who are pregnant or have a neck, shoulder, back, hip, hamstrings, knee, or ankle injury, should avoid this pose or practice with modifications and guidance.
2. Students in their menstrual cycle should avoid this pose.

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.

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