How to do the Ananda Balasana Pose
- Begin lying supine on the mat.
- Inhale. Bend your knees and draw them towards your chest. Flex your feet and take ahold of the outside of each foot with each corresponding hand.
- Open your knees wider than hip distance apart and, flexing from the waist, draw them towards your armpits. Bend your knees so that your shins are perpendicular to the floor.
- Exhale. Pull on your legs gently with your arms to deepen the hip opener. Push against your hands gently with your feet to engage the legs.
- Breath and hold the pose.
- Exhale and release your arms and legs to the mat, coming back into a relaxed, supine position.
Modifications and Props
Playing baby. Play in step five (above) to work different muscles in the pose. Alternately bend and straighten your left and right knees, testing the limits of your range of motion. Massage your back against the floor by gently rocking from side to side.
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 for long periods of time weakens the hip flexors, making it difficult to lift the upper legs and bend over. Happy baby poses engages these muscles as you draw your knees to your armpits.
Gluteal muscles. The gluteal muscle group includes the three buttocks muscles: the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. Happy baby pose engages the gluteus maximus for a toned bottom.
Adductor muscles. Happy baby pose engages the adductor muscles in the inner thighs. These muscles are responsible for leg movement away from the center of the body as, for example, during a star jump or split. Drawing the legs apart in happy baby pose lengthens the adductor muscles.
Intercostals muscles. The intercostals muscles run between the ribs. They control the motion of breathing. Pressing the legs towards the ribs and expanding through the chest in happy baby pose lengthens the intercostals for better breathing.
If you’re interested in a new yoga move, here’s the plow pose for beginners.
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