How to do the Balasana Yoga Pose
- Start on all fours, in tabletop position, on the mat. Untuck your toes and bring the tips of your feet together. Press the tops of your feet into the mat.
- Exhale. Sit back onto your heels and slowly drop your chest towards the mat. Nestle your lower belly into your inner thighs so that your body is folded in on itself. Sink your chest lower.
- Reach your arms forward, straightening your elbows and extending through the arms, shoulders, and back. With your arms straight, plant your palms in front of you and press down into the mat.
- Rest your forehead on the mat. If you want, gently massage your third eye by slowly moving your head back and forth against the mat.
- Breath and relax into the pose.
- Inhale. Lift out of child’s pose from the waist by scooping your tailbone towards your navel and following the pelvic tilt up to thunderbolt pose (vajrasana) i.e. seated position.
Modifications and Props
Tight Hip Flexors Modification. If you can’t sit back on your heels completely in child’s pose due to tight hip flexor muscles, place a folded blanket across your upper calves in step two (above) to cushion your thighs in the pose.
Passive Child’s Pose. For a passive version of child’s pose yoga, bring your knees together in step one (above). Instead of reaching your arms forward in step three (above), bring them by your sides and turn your palms up so they face the ceiling. Passive child’s pose stretches a different set of muscles than the active child’s pose, namely the rhomboid and middle trapezius muscles.
Wide Legged Child’s Pose. To intensify the hip opener in child’s pose yoga, spread your knees wider than hip distance apart in step one (above). Drop your chest down between your knees, gently dropping your chest closer to the mat as you hold the pose.
Erector spinae. The erector spinae is a bundle of muscles and tendons in the back that control extension and rotation. Because they are responsible for straightening the back, the strength of the erector spinae muscles are closely linked with posture. Balasana yoga pose stretches and lengthens the erector spinae.
Quadratus lumborum. The quadratus lumborum is located deep in the abdominal wall. When it is short and weak, the muscle is often attributed to lower back pain. When the arms reach forward actively in the pose, child’s pose stretches and lengthens the quadratus lumborum.
Gluteal muscles. The gluteal muscle group includes the three buttocks muscles: the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. Balasana yoga pose stretches the largest gluteal muscles, the gluteus maximus.
Anterior tibialis. The anterior tibialis muscle runs down the front of the calf. It controls the backwards flexion of the ankles, the movement associated with dorsiflexing the foot. In child’s pose, the legs press the tops of the feet actively against the mat. This action stretches and lengthens the anterior tibialis.
Latissimus dorsi. The latissimus dorsi muscles in the mid-back rotate and extend the shoulder joint. When the arms reach forward actively in the pose, balasana yoga pose stretches and lengthens the latissimus dorsi.
Hip flexors. The hip flexors are a large group of muscles located deep in the thighs, hips, and buttocks. They connect the leg, pelvis, and abdomen and allow you to lift your upper leg towards your body or bend your body over your upper leg. Sitting in a chair for long periods of time weakens the hip flexors, making it difficult to lift the upper legs and bend over. Child’s pose opens the hips and lengthens the hip flexor muscles.
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