FOUNDATIONAL POSE #4: CHILD’S POSE
Like Down Dog, Mountain, and Staff Pose, Child’s Pose is another foundational pose that is used to easily transition to other poses. This pose is great with props such as bolsters, blocks and blankets or as a standalone pose.
The name is derived from the fact that the form emulates an unborn child’s natural position in the womb.
There are many options of Child’s Pose for you depending on what sensation you are looking for. All are restful, relaxing and a way to become more aware of your body. Child’s Pose is the “go-to pose” anytime you need to take a moment and breathe during your yoga practice, especially following a particularly intense sequence.
As always, no pose should hurt – if it hurts, or just doesn’t feel right for any reason, stop!
Enough already… How?
From all fours (neutral horse) with your toes pointed straight behind you (it’s ok if you want to bring your big toes together), sink your hips back toward your heels. Lower your body toward your thighs. Bring your arms alongside your body. Your forehead is on the mat.
For Extended Child’s Pose reach your arms out in front of your body.
Another option is to rest your forehead on stacked fists or a block. For clarity, in the picture below I have my head up so you can more clearly see the stacking of my fists. To complete the pose, your forehead would actually be resting on your fists rather than in the air like mine is in the picture. If you use a block, your hands would be positioned like either of the first two pictures above and your head would simply rest on the block. Whether on your fists or a block, this option is great for leveling the heart with the head and can take pressure off the sinuses.
Wide Knee Child’s pose is great for anyone who is expecting or anyone who wants a great hip opener. This option allows more room for your midsection.
One of my favorite options is Restorative Child’s Pose. This is done with a bolster or blocks and blankets. It restores your body with a restful position (and you may need somebody to wake you up).
This list isn’t exhaustive, but Child’s pose is great because it:
Restores balance to the body and rests the mind
Offers a wonderful opportunity for us to explore our breath. As you inhale, feel the back of the torso widen and soften outwards – all the way down the spine to the sacrum.
Gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles. For a deeper hip stretch, widen the legs so your knees touch the mat, big toes together.
Can be a good stretch for the shoulders, if the arms are stretched out in front the body, palms facing down.
Can be a good back and neck pain reliever; at the same time, the head and torso are supported.
Because this pose is typically only done at the beginning or end of class it can get neglected and overlooked. But, trust me, you can audibly hear sighs of relief when the instructor says, “Let’s head back to child’s pose” after a really challenging flow series. After reading about all of the active foundational poses, this one should seem fun to try.
I would love to hear about your favorite option in child’s pose.