Child’s Pose, named for the way the body’s position and shape of the spine resemble that of a baby, is a staple in most yoga practices and healing disciplines. A natural therapy for relieving stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression, this shape releases and relaxes the body, and calms the mind. The compression at the knees and hips increases blood circulation and stimulates the lymphatic system—the system which rids the body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted material. Add Child’s Pose to your post-workout routine to enhance the body’s natural restoration process, hydrate connective tissue, and reduce muscle soreness.
1. Kneel at the center of the mat with knees shoulder-width apart.
2. Touch big toes together and sit on heels.
3. Lay torso between thighs, stretch arms long toward front of mat, and rest forehead on the mat.
1.Take a moment to notice your natural breath. Close your eyes, and allow the shoulders to release toward the mat. Now, direct your breath toward the upper back to feel a stretch.
2. Keeping eyes closed, refocus your attention on the hands. Enliven the hands by pulling the fingertips long toward the front of the mat, as if waking up from a nap, and pushing the bases of all ten fingers and the heels of the hands firmly into the mat.
3. Synchronize this movement with your breath. Inhale; pull fingers long towards the front of the mat. Exhale; push the bases of the fingers and heels of hands into the mat.
4. Continue to enliven the hands for 5 more breaths. Label “pull” each time you pull the fingers long, and label “push” each time you push the hands into the mat.
5. Acknowledge the sensations of push and pull in the hands. Allow the push and pull in the hands to create a subtle rhythm in the rest of the body.
The body is fully supported in this shape which induces a sense of calm.
In Child’s Pose, the eyes are closed and the body is curled into itself which allows you to bring your focus inward.
With the focus inward, outside distractions are blocked thus allowing for deeper and more prolonged concentration.
The fully supported nature of this shape allows the body to rest.
The shape is very grounded since so many body parts are in contact with the mat. Additionally, it feels safe because of its cocoon-like nature. Adding a blanket around the feet can increase the sense of grounding down.
The sit bones gently open in this shape, creating space around the sacrum which helps relieve pain in the back of the hips.
Child’s Pose gently stretches the back and creates space between each vertebra. This can be helpful for muscle spasms, sciatica pain and herniated discs.
Tension headaches and migraines are often triggered by stress. Child’s Pose is one of the most grounded shapes in yoga which calms the body and the mind, easing stress. By practicing Child’s Pose regularly, the body becomes better at handling stress, thus preventing headaches from occurring as often. When you have a headache, doing a modified Child’s Pose (bolsters between thighs with head on block cushion) increases circulation to the legs, decreases blood flow to the head and eases head pain. Plus, the compression of the head on the block may feel soothing.
Coming to stillness in Child’s Pose and focusing on the breath can help calm the nervous system and restore equilibrium.
This shape compresses the abdomen, thus stimulating digestion.
The combination of abdominal compression and low back stretch helps pain associated with menstrual cramping dissipate. During menstruation, prostaglandin (a type of hormone) is released to cause the uterine muscles to contract. When the body releases too much prostaglandin the contractions become too strong and constrict the blood vessels in the uterus. The uterus blood supply is temporarily cut off which causing intense pain in the abdomen. The surrounding muscles then tense in response to the pain which unfortunately only makes it worse and leads to pain that radiates from the abdomen to the back and legs. The compression in Child’s Pose relaxes the abdominal tension associated with cramping and the back stretch relieves muscle tension in the back.
Foot and ankle maladies: ankle sprain, ankle fracture, Achilles tendinitis
Knee maladies: knee arthritis, ACL, MCL, LCL or meniscus tears
Hip maladies: hip bursitis
High blood pressure
Shoulder maladies: shoulder impingement, rotator cuff tendonitis, frozen shoulder
Eyes and ear maladies: glaucoma, detached retina, vertigo, ear infection, eye infection
Skull, forehead & crown maladies: sinus infection, head cold, current migraine
Viscera maladies & conditions: pregnancy (after 1st trimester)
Digestion maladies: diarrhea, acid reflux
Enliven the Hands
Push the bases of the fingers and heels of the hands into the mat, while stretching long through the fingertips to activate the shape. Enlivening the hands into the mat creates heat in the body and increases the groundedness of the shape.
Stabilize the Hips
Equalize the distribution of weight between the left and right sides of the body in Child’s Pose. Put the same amount of pressure on the left and right knees. Now, picture the space between the two sit bones. See that space widen with each inhale, creating more space around the sacrum.
Organize the Shoulders
Reach the lower tips of the shoulder blades down the back toward the sit bones. Simultaneously lengthen the collarbones, creating more space between the shoulders. By organizing the shoulders, you bring better proportion and stabilization to the shoulder joint, which decreases the risk of developing shoulder-related injuries and conditions.
Engage the Ribs
The lungs have an incredible capacity, which we often don’t utilize. The ribs expand to the front, but also to the sides and back. Since the front of the ribs are constricted in Child’s Pose, this is a great opportunity to explore and engage the other parts of the ribs. With each inhale, find width through the back of the ribs. And with each exhale, knit the front of the ribs together.
Arms to Sides
For those with pain in the shoulders, arms, or hands, as well as those with high blood pressure, rest arms down by sides with palms facing ceiling.
Block under Forehead
For those with sinus issues or tight hips, place a block under the brow line.
Blanket between Calves and Hamstrings
For those with knee and foot pain, place a folded blanket in the knee crease, between the back of the legs and the back of the calves, to ease pressure at the knee joints and the feet.
Blanket between Thighs and Stomach
For those with hip pain, constipation, and menstrual cramps, place a folded blanket between the top of the thighs and the abdominals to increase abdominal compression and create more space at the hip joint.
Blanket under Knees
For those with knee pain, place a folded blanket underneath the knees, between the knees and the mat, to provide extra cushion.
Bolster(s) between Thighs
For those with lower back pain, place a bolster or two between the knees and rest the torso on the bolster to lift hips higher and ease pressure on all joints.
Seated in a Chair
To further decrease compression on the legs while still gaining the benefits of Child’s Pose, or for those who are chair-bound, sit in a chair, lower the torso down onto the thighs, reach the arms down toward the floor, and release through the head and neck.
Arms by sides
Rest arms down by sides with palms facing ceiling to release tension in your shoulders.
Lift arms. Lifting the arms while organizing the shoulders is a great shoulder-strengthening exercise.
Tuck toes under, and ground down through bases of the toes. Tucking the toes forces you to ground your feet, but also stretches the feet
Reach both arms towards the left diagonal (repeat towards right). Reaching the arms to the side diagonals stretches the torso and the side body.