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Balasana (Child's Pose) : Benefits & Variations

Updated: 4 days ago

Balasana, commonly known as Child's Pose, is a resting yoga pose that gently stretches the spine, hips, thighs, and ankles. It promotes relaxation and rejuvenation, making it a favorite among yogis for its calming effects.


Child's Pose

The name "Balasana" comes from the Sanskrit words "Bala," meaning child, and "asana," meaning pose or posture. In this pose, the practitioner assumes a fetal-like position, symbolizing the surrender and innocence of a child.


Balasana is pronounced as "bah-lah-SAH-nah."


Balasana primarily stretches the muscles along the spine, including the erector spinae, as well as the hips, thighs, and ankles. It also helps release tension in the shoulders and neck, promoting overall relaxation.


How to Perform Child's Pose

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, with your wrists aligned under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.

  2. Exhale as you slowly lower your hips back towards your heels, keeping your arms extended in front of you.

  3. Rest your forehead on the mat and allow your chest to sink towards the ground.

  4. Keep your arms active by pressing your palms into the mat and reaching your fingertips forward.

  5. Gently press your tailbone towards your heels to lengthen your spine.

  6. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and soften your facial muscles.

  7. Hold the pose for 1-3 minutes, breathing deeply and evenly.

  8. To release, gently walk your hands back towards your body and slowly sit up.


Child's Pose

When to Perform Child's Pose

Balasana is often practiced as a resting pose during a yoga sequence, especially after more intense or strenuous poses. It can also be practiced on its own as a way to calm the mind and relax the body.


Preparatory Poses

  • Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)

  • Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  • Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)


Follow-Up Poses

  • Child's Pose (Balasana) can be followed by any gentle backbend or forward bend to counterbalance the stretch.

Chakra

Balasana is associated with the Muladhara (Root) Chakra, located at the base of the spine. Practicing this pose helps to ground and stabilize the energy of this chakra, promoting feelings of security and stability.


Root chakra

Mantra for This Pose

A simple mantra to accompany Balasana is

"I surrender"

Repeat this mantra silently to yourself as you breathe deeply and relax into the pose, allowing yourself to let go of tension and stress.


Alignment Cues

  • Keep your knees about hip-width apart to create space for your torso to settle between your thighs.

  • Press evenly into both hands, spreading your fingers wide to distribute your weight.

  • Lengthen through your spine as you reach your tailbone towards your heels and your fingertips forward.

  • Relax your forehead on the mat and soften your gaze.


Duration of Hold

Hold Balasana for 1-3 minutes, or longer if desired, focusing on deepening your breath and relaxing your body with each exhalation.


Drishti

Your drishti, or focal point, in Balasana, is towards the tip of your nose or the space between your eyebrows. Soften your gaze and allow your eyes to gently close if that feels comfortable.


Physical & Spiritual Awareness

As you settle into Balasana, bring your awareness to your breath and the sensations in your body. Notice any areas of tension or resistance and see if you can release them with each breath. Cultivate a sense of surrender and trust in the process of letting go.


Beginners’ Tips

  • If you have tight hips or knees, you can place a folded blanket or cushion between your thighs and calves for support.

  • If your forehead doesn't comfortably reach the mat, you can place a block or folded towel underneath it for support.

  • Take your time easing into the pose and listen to your body. If you feel any discomfort, come out of the pose and make any necessary adjustments.


Who Should Not Do It

Avoid Balasana if you have a knee injury or are experiencing pain in your ankles, hips, or shoulders. Pregnant individuals may also need to modify the pose to accommodate their changing bodies.


Who Should Do It

Balasana is suitable for practitioners of all levels, including beginners. It offers a gentle stretch for the spine and hips and can be a soothing pose for anyone looking to relieve stress or fatigue.


Balasana Benefits

  • Stress Relief: Balasana is deeply calming and helps to relieve stress and anxiety by promoting relaxation and deep breathing.

  • Spine Flexibility: This pose gently stretches the spine, shoulders, and hips, improving flexibility and relieving tension in these areas.

  • Hip Opening: Balasana opens up the hips, which can help alleviate tightness and discomfort caused by prolonged sitting or physical activity.

  • Digestive Aid: The gentle compression of the abdomen in Balasana massages the internal organs, promoting healthy digestion and relieving bloating or discomfort.

  • Mental Clarity: Practicing Balasana can quiet the mind, increase mindfulness, and enhance mental clarity, making it an excellent pose for relaxation and meditation.

  • Emotional Release: The nurturing, inward-focused nature of Balasana can help release pent-up emotions and promote a sense of inner peace and contentment.

  • Restorative Benefits: Balasana is often used as a restorative pose in yoga practice and can provide a sense of grounding and stability during times of stress or fatigue.

Variations of Balasana (Child's Pose)

  • Extended Child's Pose: Reach your arms further forward to increase the stretch along the sides of your body.

  • Wide-Knee Child's Pose: Separate your knees wider apart to create more space for your torso to sink between your thighs.

  • Puppy Pose: Similar to Child's Pose, but with your hips stacked over your knees and your arms extended forward, creating a deeper stretch for the shoulders and chest.


Modifications for Balasana (Child's Pose)

  • If you have tight hips or knees, place a bolster or folded blanket underneath your hips for support.

  • If you have difficulty reaching the floor with your forehead, place a block or cushion underneath it for support.

  • If you have shoulder discomfort, keep your arms relaxed by your sides instead of extending them forward.


Common Mistakes

  • Rounding the spine: Keep your spine long and avoid collapsing your chest towards the floor.

  • Holding tension in the neck: Relax your neck and allow your head to be fully supported by the ground.

  • Forcing the stretch: Remember to breathe deeply and ease into the pose gradually, respecting your body's limitations.


Safety and Precautions

  • Listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too far in Balasana. If you feel any sharp or intense pain, gently come out of the pose and seek guidance from a qualified yoga instructor.

  • If you have any existing injuries or medical conditions, consult with your healthcare provider before practicing Balasana or any other yoga pose.


Additional Preparation Tips

  • Direction to face while doing this pose: Face towards the front of your mat to maintain alignment and focus.

  • What to wear for this pose: Wear comfortable, stretchy clothing that allows for freedom of movement.

  • Suitable place and essential oil or fragrance: Practice Balasana in a quiet, peaceful space where you can relax fully. Consider diffusing calming essential oils such as lavender or chamomile to enhance relaxation.

  • Music for this Pose: Choose gentle, soothing music or nature sounds to create a serene atmosphere for your practice.

Balasana (Child's Pose) offers a sanctuary within your yoga practice, inviting you to surrender, rest, and reconnect with your inner child. By embracing the simplicity and humility of this pose, you can cultivate a sense of peace and contentment that extends beyond the mat into your daily life. So, whenever you need a moment of quiet reflection or a refuge from the busyness of the world, remember to return to the comforting embrace of Balasana.



Happy yoga-ing!

Namaste!




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About the Author

Namaste! I'm Pooja Chauhan

A Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher and a practitioner. Diving deep into the realm of yoga heritage to revive its original teachings to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing culture with the world.

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