Pose of the Week: Child’s Pose

Child's Pose.jpg

Child’s Pose

BALASANA

“Life is the balance of holding on and letting go.”

~ Keith Urban

Benefits of the pose:

  • Relax’s the mind
  • Open’s hips gently
  • Stretches hips, thighs, and ankles
  • Releases the spine, offering pain relief

Asana Breakdown:

It seems like everyone I have talked to is going through a bit of a thunderous week. In honor of these trying times, I offer up one of my favorite poses: Child’s Pose (Balasana). When I teach, I often invite students to set an intention at the very beginning of class and then recall it here. It’s such a sweet opportunity to bow down to the Sadguru, the teacher within us all, and the forces around us, regardless of whether they are disconcerting or pleasant. Each is a gift. There is so much strength in surrendering.

Often, I enter into Balasana before the first Down Dog. From a table position where your knees are stacked under the hips and the wrists are stacked bellow the shoulders, push back into a wide-legged Child’s Pose. Allow the big toes to touch. Do not cross over the feet over one another. Natural inclination to cross the feet can mean there are other emotional and physical disturbances often in the spine or other areas of the body. Sink down through the hips, finding a seat on your ankles. Reach the arms over head, touching your forehead to the floor.

The variation above is an active child’s pose, it is not passive nor wavering: the arms stretched out overhead are not touching the ground. I am rooting down through my seat, aware of the placement of my hips and feet, releasing through the heart. The nature of this pose is very apanic. Apana is a counterpart to prana as one of the five Vayus (wind). Apana has it’s seat in the pelvic floor, whereas prana holds its seat in the heart’s center. The natural lengthening of the tailbone here provides the grounding and rooting qualities of apana to occur. To find balance between the two (prana and apana), take the awareness to the heart center, create space between the neck/head and shoulders. Spread the collar bones away from one another.

Variations:

If there is pain caused by being unable to rest your sit bones on your ankles, you may role up a blanket and place it between your upper and lower thighs. Some people also like to place a block underneath there forehead to offer more support and ease any intensity in the spine. Child’s pose can also be practiced in many ways, here are a few options: Option 1) wide legged child’s pose (as shown above), Options 2) Leg’s together, arms come on the floor behind your near the feet, Option 3) Legs together, walk hands out in front of you to one side to get stretch in the side body.

Contradictions:

Avoid child’s pose when pregnant, if you have sensitive knees or have had knee surgery, or if you are experiencing diarrhea (Child’s).

Sources:

“Child’s Pose – Balasana – Yoga Pose.” Yoga Journal. Yoga Journal, 28 Aug. 2007. Web. 08 Sept. 2015.

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