Melt anxiety with these variations of child's pose
We all need a minute sometimes. Probably more times than we actually give it to ourselves. When I need a minute, this pose brings me back home in my body and mind, whether it's at the beginning of a 2-hour yoga practice or in between chores on my living room floor.
One of the many, many things I love about yoga is that is can be so many things. It can be whatever you need to whoever you are today. Which will be different tomorrow.
Today you might need a sweaty, vigorous vinyasa. Tomorrow you might just need to hang out in legs up the wall pose. Maybe you love chanting "Om Shanti" and burning incense or perhaps a gym setting with no Sanskrit is more your jam. It's all good.
But you know what's really all good for me like, most of the time?
Child's pose (balasana) has become one of my favorite postures. When I'm in child's pose I just know everything is OK. I feel safe, secure and at home. And there are cool reasons.
The third eye.
In child's pose, you place your third eye — the space between your brows — on the mat. This space is associated with intuition. When I place my third eye on the mat in balasana, I slip into my most authentic self. I feel like when I connect to this space, I connect to myself in my truest form. I'm not sure if this is a shared experience but it's something I sure do enjoy a heck of a lot.
Next, (this part is super dandy!), child's pose, as the name implies, mimics your former position in your mother's womb.
It was your first home; where you were safe and secure and calm. You were always home. Coming back to this space feels like a vacuum sucks all the stress and anxiety out of you and then tucks you into your bed. That's the part I think is really groovy — but don't worry anatomy nerds, there's good stuff in this pose for you, too.
- Releases tension in your back, shoulders, chest, hips, thighs and ankles (that's a bunch of things!)
- Lengthens and stretches your spine
- Normalizes circulation
- Feels frackin' good
This is one of those poses that is easy to do mindlessly. So the next time you get into child's pose, I challenge you to be extra mindful. Here's how to get into the wide-knee variation of the asana.
Getting into child's pose (balasana):
- From all fours, bring your knees wide with big toes touching
- Send your hips back and place your third eye on the mat
- Reach your arms forward
Making it even better:
- Draw your shoulder blades down your back
- Breathe into your back, visualizing your spine getting longer and wider with each inhale
- With each exhale, let go of something that doesn't serve you: negativity, stress, anxiety, judgments, etc.
- Walk your fingertips further forward for a more active posture that opens your shoulders more
- Diahrrea (no explanation required)
- Pregnancy (can still take this pose with knees wide until it's uncomfortable)
- Knee injury
Other options (I love options!):
Cradle a bolster for an extra restorative treat (love this so hard).
Place a blanket under your thighs if sinking your hips back doesn't feel nice in your body.
Take the traditional pose with knees together to emphasize your back and deemphasize your hips.
With your knees together, place your hands at your side, palms facing up to take a more restful variation.
For an ultimate restorative treat, add a block underneath a bolster and place a blanket on your thighs.
I feel good just writing about child's pose. I think my brain is so trained to relax in this position that even thinking about it starts to do some magic up there.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to grab a bolster and hang out here for 5.