Balasana, or child's pose, is a safe yoga pose for practically everyone, no matter what your age or physical condition. Entering and holding this healing stretch will help you feel grounded and relaxed.
- Start on all fours, with hands right beneath the shoulders and knees directly under hips. If you have knee problems, use a folded blanket for extra padding.
- Gently roll your shoulders back and sway your hips from side to side to warm and loosen your body.
- Inhale to lengthen your spine and then exhale fully and pull your navel to your spine.
- Walk your hands out in front of you.
- Reach through your hands to provide some resistance as you stretch back onto your thighs to enter modified child's pose, which is also known as lightning bolt pose.
- For the classic child's pose, bring your hands beside your feet with your palms facing up.
- Let your shoulders roll forward and continue breathing fully.
Those who want to feel a deeper stretch from child's pose can use two yoga blocks for a slightly modified version.
- Place the blocks where your hands will end up for modified child's pose and keep your hands on top of the blocks.
- Stretch back onto your thighs and adjust the placement of the blocks if you need to.
- Slowly let your head and back descend until your forehead makes contact with your mat.
- Press into your pinkies and roll your shoulder blades around the side of your rib cage.
- Lift your head and feel the space you have for your neck and then let your head return to its place on the floor.
- Breathe fully and let your body melt into the pose. Stay for five to ten breaths.
Another variation of the child's pose comes from restorative yoga and uses a bolster. If you don't have a bolster, you can use a thick pillow or a narrow cushion.
- For this version, begin by sitting on your haunches with your legs wide.
- Place the short end of the bolster between your thighs, so the bolster is perpendicular to your body.
- Lay your stomach and sternum down on the bolster.
- Turn your head to one side and lay it on the bolster, too.
- Breathe fully, relax, and allow your heart to soften. Breathe into your back.
Child's pose in yoga can be used after other more difficult poses as a way to let your muscles release or on its own as an exercise in relaxation. Because the forehead is grounded to the floor, child's pose can also be helpful if you have a headache.