BĀLĀSANA (CHILD’S POSE)
- Sit on your heels in vajrasana
- Keep the knees together
- Bend forward from the hips and stretch the arms out
- Rest your arms and your forehead on the floor
- Stay for 5 breaths
Bālāsana, also known as child’s pose, is a resting pose in yoga. It represents the position of a child in the womb, where the upper body is rested over the thighs. It is sometimes also called as rabbit pose (shashankasana).
Start by sitting on your heels in vajrāsana, keeping the knees together and the feet together. Lengthen the spine upward. Take a deep inhalation, and as you exhale fold forward from the hips. Stretch the arms out in front, and place them down on the floor, shoulder distance apart. Rest your forehead on the mat. If the forehead doesn’t reach the mat, you can place a block, blanket or pillow below. It is important that the entire body rests down. Breathe deeply and feel the movement of the abdomen against the thighs. With every inhalation feel the compression that it creates, and with every exhalation observe the slight gap. In the beginning, the body may feel stiff and hold resistance. After you remain in the pose for a few breaths, you may notice that the body loosens up and can go down deeper. Stay for 10 to 15 breaths and then on an inhalation come up again.
There are several variations to this posture. Instead of keeping the arms in front, you can also draw them back and place them besides your hips on the floor. Another variation is to separate the knees wide apart, keeping the feet together, and letting the chest come down towards the floor. This intensifies the pose.
One of the benefits of this posture is that it is deeply relaxing. It is a great posture to do after an intense asana to allow the body to relax again. It stretches the back, gently opens the hips and gives a mild stretch to the shoulders and arms. It helps to release any gas from the intestines and can relieve constipation.
The contra-indications for this pose are pregnancy, high blood pressure and knee injuries. You can place a blanket under the legs for support, or even between the buttocks and the lower legs. If you have high blood pressure, you can place the forehead on a block instead of going all the way down. Pregnant women can keep the knees separate to allow the belly to rest in between the thighs.
- Stretches the back
- Opens the hips
- Releases gas and relives constipation
- Relaxes the body
- Pregnancy / High blood pressure / Knee injuries
- Stretches spinal extensors
- Stretches gluteus maximus