The Health Benefits of Balasana (Child’s Pose)
The staff at CNY Healing Arts Center invites you to try out this most calming and restorative of yoga poses. Balasana, also known as child’s pose, is a resting pose practiced in the fetal position. The name is derived from the Sanskrit words “bala” and “asana”, which translate to “child” and “pose” respectively. Its main anatomical focus is the thighs, although it is useful in relieving back, shoulder, neck, and hip strain. If performed with an open mind, the full-body, gravitational pull of Balasana is sure to induce users with a great sense of physical, mental and emotional relief. Looking to try out this pose with an instructor? We offer yoga classes at all of our locations. Click here to view our current class schedule per location (Albany, Syracuse, Rochester).
Getting Into Child’s Pose:
Begin by kneeling on a yoga mat or the floor. Bring your knees together and your buttocks to your feet. Exhale and slowly rest your torso over your thighs so that your forehead touches the mat.
For active child’s pose, lift your buttocks slightly and stretch your arms over your head. Place your palms on the floor and reach your arms until you feel your shoulder blades stretching across your back. Sit back down on your heels without changing the position of your arms. Feel your torso lengthening. For a more passive version, let your arms rest palms up at your sides. Feel the stretch in your spine. Close your eyes, steady your breathing and allow a deeper level of relaxation. Alternate between these two versions of Balasana if you like.
Breath control is a significant element of child’s pose. Since breathing is usually an involuntary action, not a conscious choice, Balasana allows us an opportunity to breathe fully into the back of the torso. Imagine your spine lengthening and widening with each inhalation. As you exhale, fall deeper into relaxation, allowing the stretch to release a little more tension with each breath. Focus on your breathing to help increase concentration and shut out distractions.
The goal is to have your forehead touching the ground in front of you while your buttocks remains in contact with your heels. If you find it strenuous to sit on your heels throughout this posture, modify it by placing a thickly folded blanket between the backs of your thighs and your calves.
Avoid child’s pose if you have diarrhea or are pregnant. Do not perform Balasana if you have had a knee injury, unless you are under the supervision of an experienced teacher. If you are pregnant, have had hip surgery, or suffer from acid reflux, you can practice this pose with a slight modification. Instead of bringing your knees together, touch your big toes and keep your knees at least hip distance apart. This will allow room for your big belly, lessen the strain on your hips, and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the stomach, which can aggravate heartburn.
The Benefits of Child’s Pose:
- Releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest
- Recommended if you have dizziness or fatigue
- Helps alleviate stress and anxiety
- Flexes the body’s internal organs and keeps them supple
- It lengthens and stretches the spine
- Relieves neck and lower back pain when performed with the head and torso supported
- It gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles
- Normalizes circulation throughout the body
- It stretches muscles, tendons and ligaments in the knee
- Calms the mind and body
- Encourages strong and steady breathing