The Ultimate Yoga Guide: How to do Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Beginner YogaYogaYoga Pose
May 17, 2022

If you’ve ever taken a yoga class you probably heard the teacher say “Child’s pose is a place of rest.” But for many people child’s pose can be extremely uncomfortable in its traditional form. Child’s pose (balasana) is a great pose to rest in, but if you’re uncomfortable the pose may defeat its own purpose. 

Child’s pose is often offered at the beginning and end of a yoga class to help the student/practitioner/participant move into parasympathetic nervous system activation (rest, digest, and relax). It’s an integral part of a yoga asana practice: moving from a place of stress to a place of rest, but if you’re not finding rest in your child’s pose you might not be getting the full benefit of yoga. Yes, there is a place to learn to breathe and become comfortable in a position that is not fully relaxing, but typically that is not what is meant of child’s pose. In the beginning of a yoga class and at the end of a class often the goal is to get the participants to really recognize how they feel outside of physical discomforts.

Traditional/Classical

Traditionally to do child’s pose: shins and tops of the feet come to the floor, inner thighs touch, hips sit back onto the heels, torso rests on top of the thighs, forehead comes to the floor, arms extend (not the anatomical term) straight overhead with palms to the floor.

A more modern interpretation

Toes curled under or tops of the feet to the floor, knees separated, torso rests towards the top of thighs, arms alongside the body or gently lifting overhead with elbows bent.

This variation can be more comfortable for just about everyone. There are a variety of other options that will be addressed below. But in the event that there are no props available this is a great place to start.

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Tight lats/shoulders

Options:

Tight hips

Take any or all of these options:

Tight knees

Place a folded blanket or yoga mat behind the knees.

Tight ankles

Take either or both of these options:

Prenatal

Knees wide enough to accommodate the belly. Rest head on a block if needed.

Herniated disks

Rest the torso on a bolster keeping the spine nice and long.

Medical conditions such as high or low blood pressure

Create a ramp with your bolster and a block. Place the bolster on the floor, rest the torso on the bolster with the head elevated.

There is no one size fits all formula to yoga, and that applies to even the most “basic” of poses. Adapt and change this pose as needed to fit YOUR needs.

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