The relaxing Child’s Pose (Balasana) is a profoundly restorative posture for the body, mind, and heart.
Through the Ayurvedic Lens
This is a tridoshic posture used for relaxation or often times as a resting pose for transitioning between other, more dynamic, postures. Child’s Pose is wonderful for slowing down and calming excess vata in the nervous system, activating the parasympathetic response, and regulating the adrenal glands. It is also great for stagnation in the colon, often caused by excess vata. This asana stretches the back muscles, providing space between the vertebrae. Child’s Pose places gentle pressure on the organs of digestion and enhances digestive function. It is calming and soothing, especially when heated pitta emotions such as impatience, irritation, or anger arise.
How to Practice
Come on to your hands and knees.
Shift your body weight back until your buttocks are resting on your heels and belly is connecting with the thighs.
Allow your forehead to rest on the floor and bring your arms back along the sides of your body with your palms facing upwards, or stretch your arms out in front of you with palms down for a deeper stretch.
Variations or Modifications
If you’re not able to touch the floor with your forehead easily, use a yoga block or stack your fists on top of one another for support under the forehead. And if your buttocks aren’t able to rest on your heels comfortably, place a yoga bolster or folded blanket between your heels and buttocks.
If you have knee pain, come out of this posture.
Other variations are to experiment with the width of your knees. You may like them together or even as wide as your mat (essential for pregnant women). Your arms may also be stretched out overhead on your mat, shoulder distance apart.
If you have any pressure or pain in your knees with this posture, please discontinue. Also, if you have a slipped disc or a back injury that feels worse with this posture, discontinue, as it’s not a good posture for your body.
A Little Child’s Pose Sequence
You can move as slowly (to balance vata and pitta) or quickly (to reduce excess kapha) through this sequence. Be sure to coordinate your movement to your breath.
Begin with three rounds of Cat-Cow (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana).
Sit back into Child’s Pose.
Slide forward onto your belly and come into a gentle Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana).
Place your hands beside your ribs on your mat, bend at the knees and move into Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana).
Repeat as many times as you like.