Balasana (Child's Pose)

Balasana (Child's Pose)


What is Balasana (Child's Pose)?

Balasana (Child's Pose)

Balasana, or Child's Pose, is a seated forward bend. It’s a relaxing yoga asana with spine, shoulder, back, and glute restoration properties. 

To practice, you will start by stinging in a kneeling position. Inhaling and extending both arms overhead, lean forward on the ground resting your core between your thighs, and rest your forehead on the yoga mat holding the pose here until completely relaxed. 

The more you can hold this pose, the more relaxed and re-energized you’ll feel. Also, it's a beginner-friendly yoga pose for all, so come along, and let's get started with the Child's pose practice. 

Balasana is a combination of two Sanskrit words. 'Bala' in Sanskrit means child, and 'Asana' means pose or posture. Child's pose isn't described in any ancient Hatha yoga texts, so we can say it's a modern yoga pose. 

A similar posture to Child's pose was first introduced in the 20th century in 1924 Primary Gymnastics, written by a Danish gymnast and educator, Niels Bukh.

In terms of symbolism, every yoga pose has the ultimate goal of connecting with the supreme self. This connection only comes with mindfulness and balance. 

Child’s pose symbolizes the balance within a child’s brain. Just like a child is free from overthinking about their past or future, it's easy for a child-like soul to set free from the material world. 

Similarly, a practitioner should allow their mind, body, and soul to come in balance by relaxing in Balasana. 

Sanskrit Name: बालासन                              Pronunciation: bah-LAHS-anna

Pose Type: Seated, Forward Bending         Also known as: Child's Pose

Strengthens: Lower Back and Hamstrings  

Stretches: Spine, Shoulders, Thighs, Ankles, and Glutes

Health Benefits of Balasana

  • Lengthens the spine. 

  • Opens the pelvic floor. 

  • Lowers blood pressure. 

  • Alleviates low back pain. 

  • Relaxes the brain and nervous system.

  • Aids in fighting insomnia and depression. 

  • Have therapeutic effects on the digestive system. 

  • Alleviates stress from the spine, glutes, and shoulders. 

  • Enhances blood circulation and re-energizes the body with Prana (energy). 

  • Stimulates abdominal organs, like - kidneys, intestines, liver, and pancreas. 

When to Avoid Performing Balasana

  • Avoid if you have diarrhea.

  • Avoid if you have a migraine.

  • Avoid if you have a slipped disc.

  • Avoid if you are a knee arthritis patient. 

  • Avoid if you have a recent injury or surgery. 

  • Avoid during pregnancy and post-pregnancy (especially after cesarean). 

How to do Balasana (Child's Pose)

Executing Child’s pose is easy, but for faster interpretation, we have divided this practice into four essential parts. Take a look below: 

Part 1 - Preparatory Poses for Balasana

Before practicing Child’s pose for a long duration it’s wise to activate your shoulders, back, knees, and core muscles. Here are a few poses that can help. 

1. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) -  Get into Staff position by keeping your legs straight and stretched out in front of you. Make sure your toes are pointing upward and your spine is straight. Inhale, raise both arms overhead and stretch up for a few seconds. 

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

Exhale, and fold forward from your glutes so that your chin appears to move down toward your toes. Hold your feet with your hands and rest your forehead on your knees. Hold this pose for a few minutes by letting your lower back, shoulders, spine and hamstrings activate. 

2. Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) - First, sit straight in Sukhasana for a few deep breaths. Now, stretch out your legs and slowly bend your legs one by one to come to a kneeling position. 

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Rest your sit bones between your heels, adjust your feet to be close to your bottom, rest thyoure palms over your knee caps, and concentrate on your breathing. Sustain this position for 30 to 90 seconds until you feel stimulation in your pelvic floor, leg joints, and calf muscles. 

Part 2: Step-by-Step Instructions to Perform Balasana

The following are steps to practice Balasana or Child’s pose: 

Step 1- Start from a kneeling position. Sit on your heels and move into a table-top stance. 

Step 2- Inhale deep and exhale slowly as you gently lower your hips back onto your heels. Knees can be together, or if you're feeling more flexible, spread your knees apart and bring your chest close to the ground. 

Step 3- Relax your forehead on the floor. Your arms can be extended overhead with your palms on the floor, or you can keep your arms at the sides of your body with both palms facing the ceiling. 

Step 4- Hold this pose here until it feels comfortable. Finally, release the pose by coming back to the kneeling position. 

Breath Awareness: 

  • Inhale: When seated in the kneeling position or while transitioning to the table-top pose.

  • Exhale: When the glutes are lowing backward onto your heels. 

  • Inhale & Exhale: While holding the position for prolonged durations. 

Performance Duration for Beginners: Hold Balasana for 3 to 5 minutes.

Performance Duration for Advanced: Hold Balasana until it feels comfortable.

Part 3: Things to Keep in Mind

Read the following posture cues to for effective results from your Child’s pose practice: 

  • Do not stress your neck: Avoid pressing your neck into the mat while resting your forehead on the mat, because this can cause severe neck injuries. 

your neck should not apply any force and should be kept in a neutral position throughout the practice. 

  • Do not overstretch your spine & shoulder: If you’re feeling pain in your shoulders and spine after performing Balasana, this can be due to unnecessary flexion of the shoulders and spine while extending your arms forward. 

Be conscious of the intensity of your stretch, and avoid this by keeping your arms alongside your body. 

Part 4: Relaxing Poses After Balasana

Child’s pose is itself a comfortable, relaxing yoga position, but if you still want to deepen your relaxation practice or release any residual muscle tension, then try the following stretches: 

1. Uttana Shishosana (Puppy Pose): This pose is very similar to Child's pose, but where Child's pose focuses on relaxing the spine and lower back, this is a more effective stretch for loosening your shoulders and upper back. 

Start by sitting in Thunderbolt pose. Inhale, lengthen your spine to bring both arms overhead. Now, bend forward, exhale, and relax your body for a few seconds. 

Uttana Shishosana (Puppy Pose)

Next, inhale and move your body forward, so your glutes are pointing up in the air. Here, your chest must be pressing into the mat, and your chin must be resting on the mat. Keep on breathing and hold this position for 30 to 90 seconds. 

2. Shavasana (Corpse Pose): You should always end your yoga class with Shavasana, because practicing this alleviates any left over tension in your spine and back muscles. 

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

Start by lying on your back. Space your feet as wide apart as your mat and with your palms facing the ceiling. Close your eyes, inhale deeply with your nose and gently breathe out from your mouth.

Feel each muscle in your body. Repeat this process by focusing on the breath until your whole body feels comfortable. 

Balasana Modifications and Props

Just because Balasana is a relaxing yoga pose, it does not necessarily mean it’s easy for all yogis. 

So, if you’re also struggling with your Child’s pose, try these modifications with props. 

  • Add a bolster and a few towels: If your lower back hurts while bending forward, add a bolster pillow in front and a rolled towel between your glutes and calves. Rest your upper body by leaning forward on the bolster in Child's pose. 

Add a bolster and a few towels

The elevation from the towel and bolster will help you minimize the pressure on your lower back and help you relax more efficiently. 

  • Add a yoga block: If you feel your shoulders are too tight, add a yoga block in front and rest your palms in front on your yoga block. 

While holding this modified position, you can gently try to stretch your shoulders close to the ground. 

Add a yoga block

This will add more flexibility to your shoulders, traps, and shoulder blades, making them ready for other, challenging Child’s pose variations. 

Balasana Variations to Consider

These variations can either help you get started with the Balasana practice or may even help you challenge your fundamental practice even further. 

1. Prasarita Balasana (Wide Child Pose): Inhale and start by sitting on your heels with a straight spine. Keep your knees slightly spread to the sides with big toes touching together, and exhale as you bring your forehead slowly onto the mat. 

Prasarita Balasana (Wide Child Pose)

Your arms should be extended forward, and your torso resting in the gap between your knees. Hold this until your body feels completely relaxed. This is a perfect variation for intermediate yogis to get deeper in their stretch. 

2. Child Pose Variation Reverse Prayer: Sit in the kneeling position, and get into extended wide Child’s pose. Rest your body in this position for a few minutes with deep breathing. 

Now, exhale-bend your arms, join your palms to make a namaste formation, and take your hands back till it touches your upper back. Keep your forehead and torso relaxed on the mat. 

Child Pose Variation Reverse Prayer

If your goal is to perform arm balance, then mobile shoulders must be your number one goal for now. So, practice this variation more often to feel your upper back and shoulder lengthening and strengthening over time. 

3. Parsva Balasana (Thread the Needle Pose): Start from a tabletop position and reach your right arm up to the sky. Now, thread your right arm under your left shoulder, crossing your left arm. Continue to thread until your right arm, ear, shoulder and head rest on the floor. 

Parsva Balasana (Thread the Needle Pose)

Keep your pelvis pointed towards the ceiling, extend your left arm straight in front and relax your upper back muscles. Hold this position on each side for 1 to 2 minutes and relax in basic Balasana afterwards. 

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Level-Up Poses After Balasana for Advanced Yogis

Below are some advanced-level yoga asanas one can try after they’ve mastered their Child's pose practice: 

Level-Up Pose 1 - Bowing Yoga Mudra 

Level-Up Pose 2 - Parivrtta Balasana (Child Pose Prayer Twist)

Level-Up Pose 3 - Mandukasana (Frog Pose)

Level-Up Pose 4 - Ananda Balasana (Happy Babay Pose)

Bowing Yoga Mudra

Bowing Yoga Mudra

Parivrtta Balasana (Child Pose Prayer Twist)

Parivrtta Balasana (Child Pose Prayer Twist)

Mandukasana (Frog Pose)

Mandukasana (Frog Pose)

Ananda Balasana (Happy Babay Pose)

Ananda Balasana (Happy Babay Pose)

Similar Relax-Forward Bending Poses like Balasana

The following are a few more relax yoga asanas that are similar to Child’s pose practice: 

  1. Uttana Shishosana (Puppy Pose)

  2. Janusirsasana (Head-to-Knee Pose)

  3. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

  4. Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Easy Pose Forward Bend)

  5. Baddha Konasana Uttanasana (Bound Angle Forward Bend Pose)

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