The word balasana comes from the Sanskrit “bala” (meaning “child”) and “asana” (meaning “pose”).
Child pose is one of those ubiquitous poses invariably practised by most yogis: Often referred to as a resting or restorative pose. It can be done at any time but is normally practised at the start of a practice or sequenced between challenges poses. It is an underestimated pose until you realise it’s benefits.
There are numerous ways to practice child pose with the use of chairs and other props in order to make it more accessible. When practised with the knees together, the pose can be uncomfortable for practitioners with curvy bodies or limited mobility in the knees and for pregnant women. An alternative is to take the knees wider in order to make more room for bellies and thighs. This modification maintains all the benefits of the pose while creating more space for the body.
The neck should stay in neutral position. If the neck is hovering, use a block, or make two fists with the hands, stacking them on top of each other and rest the forehead.
The position of the hands can be extended with the palms on the mat to help the buttocks to works towards the heels or, alternatively, beside the body with the palms facing up, making it slightly more restorative.
The many benefits of this restorative pose include:
- Calms the mind. Placing the head (namely your ‘third eye’ or the spot just between the eyebrows) down on the mat has an instant calming and soothing effect on the brain. Some also say it massages the ‘third eye’.
- It’s great for digestion. Doing child pose with the knees together, so that the belly is resting on the thighs is a great way to massage the internal organs.
- Elongates the lower back. Child pose allows the body to open up and stretch this area of the body.
- Opens up the hips. By taking the knees wide apart, so that the belly can relax in between them, the body will get a nice stretch and opening through the hips.
- A reminder that resting is a good thing. Brings about balance in our practice, reminding us to rest in between postures. It also promotes relaxation eliminating stress and fatigue.
The beauty of this pose is that is can be held for as long as it is comfortable and being enjoyed.