We all want to be cradled every now and then. This pose focuses on taking care of you. It is a loose variation of figure 4, pigeon or deer pose. It is good to try different variations for different body types and find what works best for you.
Let’s do this
From Staff pose, draw your right foot up towards your right ‘sitting bone’ and open your right knee out to the side. Hold your right knee with your right hand and your right ankle with your left hand (as if cradling a baby). Flex your right ankle while protecting your knee and lift your leg up toward your chest. Try to keep a neutral spine. If a neutral spine is not possible or it proves tiresome, try rolling back into a supine position cradling your right ankle with your hands overlaying each other. You can also start from an easy seated pose or elevate your hips (folded blanket, block, bolster, rolled up yoga mat, pillow…). Another suggestion is to try this pose sitting against a wall.
If you are comfortable maintaining a neutral spine, try placing your right foot into the crook of your left elbow and your knee into the crook of your right elbow while layering your hands and comfortably supporting your leg. You can also rock your baby or place your baby down to your thigh and pick up toward your chest while maintaining a neutral spine.
The purpose of this pose is to open up through your hips. It may also help to relieve lower back pain. Again, this is an alternative to pigeon pose. It may be a gentler alternative that is easier to correctly get into and may not put as much pressure on your knees. As a yoga teacher, I rarely teach pigeon pose because a good deal of my students cannot correctly get into pigeon pose. Also, pigeon pose may not be the best way to get into the stretch for their bodies due to hip replacements, knees replacements, injures, etc. Here are some benefits of cradle the baby according to yogapedia.com
Take the time to understand the beautiful you! What is the purpose of the pose? What is best for you? Try it. Nothing should hurt. There is no right or wrong (other than pain). If one variation hurts and another feels good, do the one that feels good! Breathe, take the positive and leave the rest.