Have you ever seen a newborn all curled up? A little body resting over little knees with sweet, little arms tucked under a tiny chest… eyes closed and face soft? They simply exude peacefulness.
It may have been a long time since you curled your body up into a little ball and you might be thinking it’s impossible at this point. But with a few props, some personal adjustments for comfort, and regular practice you can find this posture natural and rejuvenating once again.
Known in Yoga as Balasana or Child’s Pose, it is intended to be a restful posture where curling up into yourself miraculously recreates a place of inner peace and calm.
My favorite way of finding Balasana is with my arms tucked under my chest or with a bolster supporting my torso. There are myriad benefits such as:
- Stretching out the hips and back where painful emotions can get trapped.
- Opening the shoulders where tension tends to build.
- Calming the brain to reduce stress and anxiety.
But the best benefit to Child’s Pose is that it instantly creates a youthful sensation. Combined with a restorative energy and a deep rhythmic breath you will notice that a sense of safety is available to you — leaving you feeling supported and effortlessly serene.
Getting into Balasana:
Find the position that is most comfortable for you. This is key, as holding tension or physical discomfort will detract from your ability to go into a deep restorative state.
- Begin with knees set wide and hips pressed back onto heels.
- Extend torso and arms forward between legs with forehead and hands resting on the mat.
- Gently lengthen the back of the neck. It should feel like the skin of your forehead is being pushed down toward your eyes ever so subtly.
- Allow belly and lower back to soften and fill with breath as you encourage hips to release tension.
- Wrapping the arms down by the sides.
- Tucking arms under the chest.
- Turning head to one side or the other.
- Props to support tight bodies include a rolled up towel or blanket under the hips, a small pillow or towel under the forehead, or a big long pillow or bolster supporting the chest and head.
I highly recommend a bolster under the chest, which creates a physical and energetic support, allowing you to fully receive the nourishment of this posture.
How to find inner peace:
With your body positioned, begin to breathe into the belly. Notice how easy it is in this position to expand the breath into the abdomen — a place we normally hold tension. As your breath deepens, try spreading it into the back of the abdomen and into the shoulder blades.
In Balasana, the back body is open and available for a fully conscious breath to lengthen and expand the spine and lower back muscles. Breathing into this space stimulates the nervous system and allows you to relax, reduce stress, and create inner solitude.
As you inhale, imagine the back filling with air in a “dome-like” shape. With each exhalation, soften into the fold a little more. Relax your face, release your jaw and enjoy this simple journey to inner peace!