The child pose is a wonderful restorative post that I do between other yoga poses.
I had a wonderful Mother's Day, yesterday. We enjoyed spectacular weather here in metropolitan Washington DC - radiant sunshine and warmth after days of unseasonably, chilly temperatures with gray skies and seemingly incessant rain. I made a point of relaxing (and not cooking!), spoke to my wonderful daughter, and ate a delectable lunch with my mother at her senior living facility and a tasty takeout dinner with my son on our deck.
Motherhood is filled with delight and challenges. As mothers, we focus on nurturing our children as they grow from infancy into adulthood. It takes much energy and effort to do so. It can be exhausting at times. Therefore, it's important to remember that we must nurture ourselves all along the way. A daily yoga practice is a key way to do that.
When my children were infants and toddlers, it was tricky squeezing in the time for yoga practice. But, I made the commitment to do so because I knew it was vital to my well being. It was (and is) a way to nurture myself. Whether you are a mother or not, a daily yoga practice is a gift you give to yourself, to nurture and soothe yourself.
And, in thinking about Mother's Day, I recalled how much I enjoy the yoga child pose. It's a pose I do in between other poses because it is especially soothing and restorative. In light of that, I provide a refresher below on the child pose. Enjoy!
Child/Embryo Pose – Arms Forward (Sanskrit name – Balasana)
Type of yoga pose: Kneeling forward bend
Body parts targeted: Upper torso, hips, hamstrings, spine, thigh muscles, and ankles.
How to do the pose:
- Kneel on the floor and sit on your knees with them close together. Inhale and exhale deeply.
- Inhale and gently fold yourself forward until your forehead rests on the floor.
- Exhale and stretch your arms forward out in front of your head. (refer to photo at the top of this post)
- Feel the deep fold in your ankles, knees, and hips. Inhale and exhale again.
- Allow yourself to totally relax.
- Rest in this pose for 5-10 seconds.
- Bring arms from their forward position back to your sides.
- Gently and slowly uncurl your upper back and neck and raise your head moving up one vertebra at a time until you return to an erect and relaxed kneeling position.
Practice time: Start with 5-10 seconds and increase by a few seconds each week until you can hold the pose for 30 seconds or more depending on your time constraints.
Number of repetitions: 1-2 or 1 between other poses
Key benefits from this pose:
- Reduces fatigue and tension in body.
- Relaxes neck and lower back and limbers knee joints.
- Releases tightness in and develops flexibility of ankles, knees, and hips.
- Reduces tension in upper thigh muscles.
- Counteracts strain from backward stretches.
- Helps alleviate insomnia and constipation.
Special hints and my experience with this pose:
This stretch is soothing – especially after completing challenging inverse poses such as the bow or the cobra. It’s excellent for cooling down and resting between poses and for counterbalancing inverse stretches such as the bow.
Initially, you may find this pose a bit uncomfortable if you have a lot of accumulated tension and tightness in your upper thighs. If I have slept in an awkward position, I notice such tightness which the pose helps alleviate.
Be patient and stay in the pose only as long as is comfortable for you. Work your way up to holding the pose for longer periods.
Yours for nurturing yourself with yoga,
Laura Venecia Rodriguez, the yoga at home for beginners coach