Every type of exercise class these days somehow includes child's pose. At the forefront, yoga, but pilates and even kickboxing and TRX classes as well. Many types of workout regimens incorporate child's pose into the "cool down" or stretch portion of a class. So why is this pose that is so comfortable and relaxing so popular?
The term “Child’s Pose” comes from the Sanskrit words “bala” and “asana”, which translate to “child” and “pose.” This pose is truly a resting pose. It is meant to nourish and nurture our bodies. You can hold it for long periods of time without the need for props. It is a fetal position pose done on the floor.
Getting into child’s pose is simple. Kneel on a yoga mat or the floor. Bring your knees together and your buttocks to your feet. Exhale and slowly rest your torso over your thighs so that your forehead touches the mat. Place your palms on the floor and reach your arms until you feel your shoulder blades stretching across your back. For a more passive version, let your arms rest palms up at your sides. You can also widen your knees so that your hips and torso fall closer to the mat. It is not intended to be challenging, but comforting and protective.
Take a few deep belly breaths now. Do you feel that stretch in your spine? And your low back?
This Pose Opens the Hips and Elongates the back
Most of us have compression in our lower back from either sitting or standing for long periods of time. We are most likely not engaging our lower abdominals throughout the course of the day while sitting or standing, and therefore our top half weight pushes so much pressure into our low back and hips. All of our daily pressure from sitting and standing is forced down into our low back and tailbone.
Folding over your legs immediately reverses the splaying of the tailbone that can cause lower back pain. Wide leg child’s pose allows your belly to relax between your opened hips. This pose specifically releases tension in the back, shoulders, and neck. In addition, it increases flexibility in the ankles and knee joints.
Encourages Deep Breathing
Remember those deep breaths? Imagine your spine lengthening and widening with each inhalation. As you exhale, fall deeper into relaxation, allowing the stretch to release a little more tension with each breath. Did you ever wonder what your yoga instructor really meant when she said “breathe into your back body?” Balasana restricts the abdomen and allows for a deeper opening of the back of the torso as the lungs expand behind the body.
Child’s pose encourages strong and steady breathing. The power of our breath circulating clean oxygen throughout our bodies is an incredibly restorative feeling.
Calms the Mind
This is a grounding pose. Having your head on your mat gives a safe, protected feeling and relieves stress and tension. This pose has an instant calming effect on the brain.
Rest is Necessary
Child’s pose helps us to cultivate a sense of balance. Not often are we able to rest and recharge our batteries during our daily routines. Balasana allows us to pay attention to our bodies and nourish them internally and externally.
Allows Better Blood Circulation
Child’s pose dramatically aids blood flow to the spine and brain by facilitating smoother blood circulation.
Great for Digestion
Child’s pose flexes and massages the body’s internal organs therefore moving digestion along. It actually manually massages your intestinal tract.
The next time you're doing Child's pose think about the amazing things that are going on inside and outside of your body. This pose is truly restorative.