Child’s pose – called Balasana in Sanskrit is one of the prone poses in yoga, meaning the face is down rather than up. In some yoga schools they refer to it as embryo pose as well. For some people, bending this way is really uncomfortable, which is one reason why strategic prop placement is important. For example, in an active (unsupported) variation, the challenge is to bring the sitting bones to the heels and forehead to floor.
These actions require a lot of lengthening from the spinal extensors, gluteals, piriformis, calves, feet. You also need to be able to widen the knees in order to make room for the front spine/belly. It is a pose where tightness in the hip flexors will show up and it may be hard to feel anything other than congestion and the inability to breathe. A helpful tip obviously practicing this pose on a full stomach – suffocating. So – in order to allow gravity to work for you rather than against you, in order for your nervous system to approach calm – which is the idea behind it, the props you use matter. Here, you can see we used a bolster, folded blanket, and 2 ThreeMinuteEggs. These just helped with tightness in the shoulders and actually freed up more space in the side ribs to be able to access a calm breath. Also, you can see how the hips and shoulders are kept in the same plane, instead of having one pull on the other. Generally, done this way, child’s pose can help blood flow to the pelvis, relieve some general back tension, and improve the flexibility of the hips. There are many ways, many options so contact me to help set you up in this fine pose!
It can be really uncomfortable or really relaxing and restorative. Sometimes in a vinyasa class, child’s pose is used as a segway or prep to downward facing dog.