Child's Pose: The Basics of Balasana

When it comes to resting postures, Child's Pose is the go-to pose for beginners and veterans alike who need a break during an especially strenuous class. But don't discount this posture as just a mere respite when things get a little tough. There are plenty of benefits that Child's Pose provides, and it should be considered an important component of your routine practice. 


So let's explore why this posture can be so advantageous, and how you can make the proper adjustments for your particular skill level to address any difficulties you may have in performing the pose. 


Related: Everything You Need To Know About Downward Dog

Woman practicing child's pose

How To Do Child's Pose

You've no doubt been told to move into Child's Pose if you find a portion of a class too challenging or you're just not in a place, either physically or mentally, to continue forward with your practice. But in order to get all of the benefits of the posture, it's vital that you learn how to do it correctly. Child's Pose is an easy one to execute, so you may be surprised to know that not only are many people doing it wrong, but you could be one of them. 


  • Start in a kneeling position on your mat. Bring your feet close together so your big toes are in contact with one another. Set back on your heels with your knees placed apart at the same width as your hips. 
  • As you exhale, bring the torso forward in between the thighs while stretching the sacrum across the back of the pelvis with the hips narrowed and held close to the insides of your thighs. Elongate the tailbone away from your pelvic region as you bend your head forward. 
  • Place both hands on the mat next to your torso, keeping the palms up, as you drop the front of each shoulder to the floor. You should feel your shoulder blades spread across the back. 
  • Now rest in place. You can stay in the pose for a couple of breaths or a couple of minutes. Do whatever feels good for you. 

The Benefits Of Child's Pose

Remaining in this position for any length of time can work wonders for your body and mind. Whether you decide to include it as part of a class or you simply want to wind down from a long, stressful day, this posture can bring a whole range of health benefits. 


Here are just some of the reasons why you should do Child's Pose:


Calm The Mind

Maybe it's been a rough day with plenty of challenges, maybe you have a big decision to make, or maybe you just want to unplug from all of the responsibilities for a few minutes. It's good to know that the position in which you place your head during Child's Pose can soothe your mind


When you're in the pose, the middle of the forehead is resting squarely on the mat. Your body is tucked inward and you are gazing at yourself. This allows you to relax and take some time to reflect on a personal level. 


Your Lower Back Will Thank You

If your workday has you seated for seven to eight hours a day or you are standing in one place for an extended length of time, Child's Pose is a terrific way to help alleviate the natural compression that occurs in the lower back. This happens because we often drop our weight into this portion of the body without using the abdominal area to reduce that pressure. Resting in Child's Pose for even a couple of minutes will bring some relief by stretching out the back as your remain folded over. 


Opens The Hips

Long periods of sitting or standing can have the same negative impact on the hips as they do on the lower back. So the next time you perform Child's Pose, remember to keep your knees apart to allow the belly to rest in between. This will allow for the hips to open up and stretch. Not only can this reduce any pain or discomfort you might be feeling in the hips, but will also help to maintain their health and well-being. 


Provides Much Needed Rest

Yoga is about work and rest. However, too many of us focus more on the former than the latter. It's something we often do throughout our lives, spending all our time working without taking the time to decompress and allow for some healing and relaxation. Child's Pose can be a powerful reminder that we all need to rest from time to time, whether it's in a class, your practice, or your daily routine. What happens when you're running at full speed all the time? You burn out. There's no reason you should have to deal with that issue, and Child’s Pose can be a great way to take a few minutes and rest. 

Two women practice child's pose

First Timers To Child's Pose

Beginners often try to do everything at once, which results in their inability to do a pose properly and can possibly lead to them even hurting themselves. In the case of Child's Pose, the goal is comfort. You can't rest and relax if you're uncomfortable. 


Here are a few things for newbies to consider as they try Child's Pose for the first time: 


Props

Never ever feel awkward about bringing props and accessories to help you achieve a pose. That's what they are there for in the first place! Remember, you want to be comfortable in Child's Pose so if you aren't flexible enough to get your head down on the mat, feel free to use a block to support the forehead instead.  


If you're experiencing some stiffness in the back, place a towel under the hips to make the pose more comfortable. Some people might feel a little discomfort in the ankles or knees as bending and stretching can be tough to do in those areas as well. A towel underneath is all you need to make it easier. Even if you're working on a yoga mat, you may still need some additional support. By all means, use some. 


Adjustments

There are a number of modifications you can do to help make Child's Pose more comfortable and effective. The placement of the knees or arms can make a big difference. 


Placing your knees further away from one another can accommodate those who have additional weight to carry in the belly and the breasts. Limited flexibility can also determine whether or not you should keep your knees spread apart more than normal. Try different positions with your knees to see which feel best on your hips and back. As your flexibility improves, you'll find that you can bring your knees closer together without discomfort. 


As for the arms, placing them out in front of you can help counterbalance your weight. If you feel like you're holding too much body weight near your head, rest your arms ahead instead of placing them at your sides. This action will stretch and release the shoulders and make the pose just as effective in working out this area of the body. 

Stretching in child's pose

Final Thoughts

Child's Pose is a posture that is intended to help you relax and restore physically and mentally. Make every attempt to ensure that your time spent in the pose brings these benefits to your body and mind. If that means adjusting with props and modifying your positioning, then so be it. Don't ever feel self-conscious about making these modifications. Even more important, remember to always give yourself that extra time to simply hold the pose. Let all of your other troubles melt away; they will still be there when you're done. But for the moment, live in the present and just rest. You need it. 


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1 comment


  • Sandy Leighton

    I do have a herniated disc and am already doing floor exercises. I will try to slowly add these poses to my workouts. Thank you


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