The name alone, “Child’s Pose”, conjures feelings of rest and relaxation. And it’s true. It’s an excellent asana to practice first thing in the morning, after a long day, or anytime you need a break to relieve back pain and reduce stress. Child’s Pose (Balasana) is one that can be used at any point, by anyone, with or without yoga training.
With that said, let’s dive into how you perform Child’s Pose.
How To Do Child’s Pose
Step 1: Begin on all fours on your yoga mat (tabletop position). Press up and away from the ground through your palms making sure to form a solid tabletop.
Step 2: Move your hands forward just in front of you so they’re not directly underneath your shoulders.
Step 3: Now, bring your toes together so they’re touching.
Step 4: Widen your knees so that both your left and right knees are touching the outer edges of your yoga mat.
Step 5: Take a deep breath and on the exhale, sit back into the pose until your sit bones are touching your heels.
Step 6: Bring your forehead and your elbows down to the mat and feel the stretch through your back and sides. Double-check that you aren’t tensing your shoulders. Instead, roll them back away from your ears to create space in your neck/shoulders.
Step 7: While you’re in this pose, you can rock your hips back and forth, actively reach forward as far as you can and do whatever feels comfortable.
Step 8: Take 5-10 deep breaths, relax, and let the stress melt away.
The pose above is also called “Extended Child’s Pose” because your hands are stretched out in front of you and you’re extending your reach. In the standard Child’s Pose, instead of extending out, you rest your arms down and back by your thighs.
Here is a variation for Child's Pose during pregnancy:
Modifying Child’s Pose
When you perform either extended or standard Child’s Pose, you may notice that your sit bones are nowhere near your heels. That’s okay. Just go as far as you comfortably can. You can also move forward and backward to loosen the hips and work on sitting further back each time. It may also help to place a yoga blanket or bolster between your heels and sit bones.
You may also have trouble bringing your head down to the mat. This is also perfectly normal. Just bring your forehead down as close as you can and work on improving your flexibility each time.
Benefits of Child’s Pose
Child’s Pose is a restorative yoga pose that almost everyone loves. It’s a perfect pose to perform first thing in the morning to put yourself in the right frame of mind. It’s also an excellent pose to perform during a yoga class if you just need a break before going into the next pose.
The benefits of this pose extend beyond the obvious relaxation though. Child’s Pose stretches your posterior muscles (back, neck, shoulders, hamstrings, glutes) which relieves aches and pains as well as sets you up for better posture during the day.
Because you’re squeezing your abdomen during the pose, it also aids digestion, healthy bowel function, and detoxification.
Performing Child’s Pose on a regular basis also helps you connect with the breath, reduce stress levels, and learn to take a well deserved moment for yourself.
Risks and Contradictions
Child’s Pose carries a unique set of contradictions. If you’re suffering from diarrhea, you’re pregnant, or have a knee injury, then you should probably stay away from the pose. Some pregnant women can perform the pose when they move their knees into a wider position to relieve abdominal pressure but you should speak with your doctor before attempting this.
Leverage the restorative nature of Child’s Pose when you need a break. This can be between poses during an active class, in the morning before starting your day, or any time you have a few minutes and some privacy.
Focus on your breath every time you’re in the pose and imagine your back rounding up toward the ceiling to create length in your spine and the muscles of your back.
Preparation Yoga Poses
- Cow face pose
- Easy pose
- Fire Log Pose
- Hero Pose
- Lotus Pose
Related Yoga Poses
- Child’s Pose is considered a rest and restore pose so it can be used in between or following any pose in yoga.
- Sanskrit: Balasana
- Difficulty: Beginner