Stretch and De-stress in CHILD'S POSE
Updated: Sep 24, 2020
You don’t need to practice yoga, have extreme flexibility, or superhuman balance to reap the benefits of some of yoga’s simple and beginner-friendly poses. There are many yoga poses that anyone can do and the health benefits, such as stress reduction, weight loss, improved sleep, and increased energy, make it worth giving them a try. Child’s pose is one of my favorites. Known in yoga as Balasana (from the Sanskrit words "bala" (meaning "child") and "asana" (meaning "pose")), child's pose is a gentle stretch for the back, hips, thighs, and ankles. It’s a wonderfully grounding stretch, that feels great any time of the day. When I feel stressed out, taking a few minutes to sit in child's pose calms my nerves and mind.
To get into child's pose, begin by kneeling on a yoga mat or the floor. Bring your knees together and then sit your hips back toward your heels. (It’s okay if your butt doesn’t touch your feet.) Exhale and slowly rest your torso over your thighs so that your forehead touches the mat. (If your forehead doesn’t reach the mat, that’s fine. See the variations below.) There are several possible arm positions. You can stretch your arms in front of you with the palms toward the floor for a deep shoulder and side body stretch. Or you can bring your arms back alongside your thighs with the palms facing upwards.
If you have an injury or are pregnant, avoid or modify this pose. For a shoulder injury, keep your arms by your sides. If you are pregnant, spread your knees apart, allowing your belly to rest in between your legs and do not press your stomach into your thighs. If you have a knee injury, you can try to bolster your bottom off your heels with a block or blanket, and rest your torso on a support.
If you have very tight hips, back or calves, a bigger body, or a large chest, or for any other reason that your hips can’t touch your heels and your forehead doesn’t reach the ground, separate your knees wide, support your torso by resting on your elbows and laying your forehead on your hands or a block, or rest your belly and the weight of your body on a rolled up blanket or bolster. Never put the weight of your body on your neck.
Remember, there is a difference between uncomfortable and painful. If there is a little discomfort, that probably means you’re stretching, and we want to try to take a deep breath and relax. If it’s painful, that’s your body telling you there is something wrong.
Of course, always check with a doctor first if you are recovering from an injury and stop if you are feeling pain.
Find the position/modification that feels comfortable for you, and relax into the pose with deep inhales and exhales. Stay as long as you like and enjoy the many benefits of child's pose:
Releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest
Helps alleviate stress and anxiety
Lengthens and stretches the spine
Gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles
Stretches muscles, tendons and ligaments in the knee
Calms the mind and body