CHILD’S POSE (Balasana)

13 Dec

childs pose

Intention

Is to create a humble, surrendering child like forward bending pose that allows the body and mind to release and let go all tensions, anxieties and stresses while taking the consciousness inward.

Benefits

  • Stretches the muscles and tendons of the front of the feet, ankles and knees
  • Gently curves and stretches the entire spine, shoulders and arms
  • Releases tension in the lumbar spine and the connection with the pelvis S1L5
  • Promotes the PNS parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest)
  • Calms the mind and reduces mental anxiety and stress
  • Opportunity to practice Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana
  • Combined with deep abdominal vertical breathing it creates strong tissue pumps and hydraulic pressure within the torso
  • Promotes digestion
  • Benefits insomniacs
  • Cooling and grounding
  • Reduces pitta Dosha
  • Restorative counter pose used to rest the physical body, to calm the mind and to rehabilitate after a strong vitalizing practice

Contraindications

  • Injuries and inflammation of the feet, ankles, knees, legs or hips
  • Extreme stiffness of the feet, ankles, knees or hips
  • Pregnancy
  • Do not turn the head to the sides

Teaching technique

  1. Kneel on the mat sitting on the heels with the inner knees together, pivot in the hips and lean forward and place the hands on the floor in front of the knees
  2. Extend and lengthen the front of the body as much as possible by lifting the navel away from the pubic bone and then the sternum away from the navel
  3. Lay the stomach onto the tops of the thighs sliding the floating ribs forward towards the knees then soften the spine and lay the chest on the thighs and forehead to the floor
  4. Take the arms back to rest on the floor beside the lower legs with the palms of the hands facing upwards towards the ceiling
  5. Allow the entire torso to soften over the thighs creating an arched spine that is gently stretched from the sacrum to the skull
  6. Allow the mind to become introverted releasing all thoughts associated with the outer environment, begin to practice Pratyahara, Dharana and Dhyana.
  7. Use deep abdominal vertical breathing to create hydraulic pressure inside the torso as the chest diaphragm pushes downward into the torso creating the ability to stretch the torso from the inside out.
  8. This hydraulic pressure can be directed out into the anterior spine to stretch the connective tissues and muscles by contracting the obliques, transverse and rectus abdominals

Modifications

  • Folded blankets can be used on top of the mat to create a soft surface for the top of the feet and ankles to alleviate pressure and discomfort
  • A rolled blanket or towel can be placed behind the knees to alleviate some knee pains and stiffness
  • A bolster or a block can be placed under the buttocks to support them and to release pressure in the knees
  • A bolster or a block can be placed under the forehead to support the head and release tension in the neck if the head does not reach the floor
  • Tuck the chin in towards the chest to lengthen the neck and release tension in the cervical spine and neck
  • The arms can be extended forward with the palms of the hands resting on the floor creating Ardho Mukha Virasana

Common misalignments

  • More weight is placed over one thigh than the other causing the torso to tilt to one side
  • The pelvis is not held symmetrically allowing it to twist or tilt distorting the spine above
  • If the quadratus lumborum or obliques are tighter on one side of the spine than the other the spine curves
  • If the torso does not pivot correctly from the hips the spine pivots in the lumbar
  • The head is turned to the side so that the linear alignment from the sacrum to the skull is lost
  • If the forehead does not reach the floor easily the head pivots forward from the centre of the cervical
  • spine with the potential to create compression and stress in the cervical vertebrae disks

Counterpose

Savasana commonly known as the corpse Yoga pose which creates a totally relaxed asana which combined with gentle abdominal breathing stimulates the PNS parasympathetic nervous system promoting a deep restful relaxation.

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