Balasana (Child’s pose) is a beautiful, multi-functional posture that can provide a soothing, nourishing respite from the outer world. Yes, a mini vacation!
It is an asana (posture) that stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles. By having your brain beneath your heart, you receive the benefits of being in an inversion that isn’t too taxing on your shoulders or neck. It relieves back and neck pain when the head and torso are supported. The forward bend of the torso and positioning of the head can trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, the “rest and digest” feature of the autonomic nervous system. It can also tone the vagus nerve (which regulates the heart, blood pressure, digestion, etc.). Toning the vagus nerve is becoming a treatment for many issues, such as migraines, Parkinson’s, PTSD, epilepsy, and depression/anxiety to name a few.
Balasana allows you to check in with your body and breath. It’s restful and restorative. It can even be practiced in bed! It’s a wonderful tool to connect with your back body. While in this pose: Tune into your breath. Feel your back body rise with your inhale and lower with your exhale. Follow the breath up and down the spine. After several breaths, shift your attention and awareness to the ribs, feeling them widen with your inhale and soften with the exhale.
You may need to modify this posture for comfort. Or just like other yoga poses, listen to your body, and know when to back off. Here are a few suggestions:
- If it’s difficult to rest your buttocks on your heels, place a folded blanket between the backs of your thighs and your calves.
- Try spreading knees wider apart. This can prompt a deeper stretch in the hips.
- Cushion the top of your feet with a blanket or fold your mat for padding under feet.
- Support your forehead with a firm pillow, block, or blanket. You can also stack your hands and rest your head on your hands.
- Extending your arms opens the shoulders and chest. Doing this makes the pose more active versus restorative. Note: see the featured image in this post. As an alternative, try resting your arms alongside your thighs, palms up, giving your shoulders a well-deserved break.
For more information on Balasana (Child’s Pose) click here: https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/child-s-pose