Happy Baby Pose: Everything You Need To Know
Happy Baby Pose may have the most joyful-sounding name for a pose of all-time. But what is Happy Baby Pose all about and why should you be doing it? Primarily, this posture is popular for its relaxing nature and the many health benefits that it offers. Not only can it calm the mind but it's also an effective method for stretching the body.
What Is Happy Baby Pose?
As the name suggests, the pose resembles a happy baby lying on his or her back. And what do all happy babies like to do? They grab their feet - and that's the pose. While lying down on your back, you reach up to grab your feet and rock from side to side. This is a good pose to do at the start or end of a class because it's a nice way to relax and it's pretty easy for just about anyone to execute. That makes Happy Baby Pose well-suited for all skill levels. However, some people can experience difficulty in attempting Happy Baby Pose due to tight hamstrings.
How To Do Happy Baby Pose
There aren't too many complicated steps to perform in order to do the pose correctly. If you find one of these steps are is too difficult, free to make adjustments as necessary.
- Start by lying on your back. As you exhale, bring your knees towards your sternum.
- On an inhale, grab the outsides of your feet. If you're unable to do this comfortably with your hands, place straps or belts around the soles of the feet to grab hold of them.
- Spread your knees apart so they are just a bit wider than your torso and bend them toward the armpits.
- Keep the ankles aligned with your knees with the shins held in a perpendicular position to the floor. Push the feet into your hands or straps as you pull them back so you have some resistance between the soles of the feet and the hands or straps.
- Rock gently from one side to the other if you prefer.
Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure you are performing the pose properly. These simple mistakes will prevent you from enjoying all the benefits that Happy Baby Pose offers and could even lead to a strain or injury. Remember this is about being comfortable and relieving tension - you can't do either if you're not doing the pose correctly.
- Be sure that your shoulders stay on your mat. You do not want them to lift up when you are reaching and holding your feet. Using the straps should alleviate this problem but you can also choose to hold your ankles or even the shins in order to prevent your shoulders from rising up.
- The head should also remain against the mat at all times. Holding the ankles or shins will also help to keep your head from lifting up but you may also choose to stick a rolled-up towel or blanket under your neck. You could strain your neck if you don't give it proper support while doing this pose.
Why You Should Do Happy Baby Pose
There are many benefits to doing Happy Baby Pose. Primary among them are increased flexibility and range of motion. This comes from stretching the inner thighs, groin, and hamstrings. Other advantages that can come from executing this pose correctly include:
- Reducing lower back pain
- Opening up Inner thighs and hips
- Stretching and realigning the spine
- Relieving stress and anxiety
- Slowing your heart rate
- Fighting fatigue
A Word About Hamstrings
The biggest challenge that people have with Happy Baby Pose lies in the hamstrings. You may have an issue with keeping the shoulders or the lower back against the floor as you hold the pose or even some cramping problems in the legs at the end of the pose.
If any of this sounds familiar, you may have tight hamstrings. This can be indicated by a number of symptoms outside of your yoga practice as well. Consider your overall posture when seated. Do you notice that your lower back is rounded when you are seated with both legs held out straight? That's because of your hamstrings. When the hammies are tight, that can impact the rest of your body in detrimental ways.
So how do you solve this problem? It's going to require routine stretching. Happy Baby Pose is a good stretching posture to target the issue but there are other things you could be doing as well. The goal here is flexibility and stretching is the key.
Choose Your Stretches Wisely
Gaining flexibility is done slowly with a dedicated regimen in place. The poses and exercises you choose to perform can be dynamic or static stretches. The former is done as a series of controlled movements which are intended to warm up your muscles in advance of the exercises you are about to do. The latter are stretches that are only held for a brief period of time; think of it as a yoga pose where you stay in position for five to ten breaths. These should be done after the muscles have been warmed up.
You can also combine the two by turning static stretching into dynamic stretching. This is done by holding a posture for 30-60 seconds and then moving out of it into another one. Hold and transition into the next. Hold and transition into the next. Do this repeatedly while maintaining a steady pace.
Happy Baby Pose is an ideal pose for beginners but there are some precautions to take before you do it. Anyone with a previous neck or knee injury should avoid this posture. Pregnant women may also want to refrain from doing this pose after the first trimester because lying on the back in this position could lower circulation to your baby.
If these conditions don’t apply to you, try incorporating the pose into your regular practice and you will find that your flexibility and mobility start to increase. Just be patient with yourself as you progress and never overexert yourself. If you feel any pain or discomfort, cease the pose immediately.
Want to learn more about popular yoga poses? Be sure to visit the Yoga Society Poses Blog