Child’s Pose (Balasana) is meant to be a calming, restorative pose. A chance to draw inwards, to get your breath back or to use as a rest in place of poses you are skipping – but for many people it just hurts! Here are a few variations and modifications to change it from aargh to aaahhh…
I get sore knees and ankles
If the front of your ankles don’t stretch so much, or if the tops of your feet are sensitive, try using a few DIY props. Take a blanket or towel and make a roll with it. Place it on your mat so that your ankles can stay bent and rest on it. Get your roll ready before you start the class so you can grab it quickly when you need it.
If you don’t have props handy you can use your mat instead – pinch up a section about a third of the mat’s length away from the end and double it over. This also helps distribute your body weight over the lower leg more evenly, instead of putting extra pressure on your knees. If you’re staying in the pose for a couple of minutes or more, fold up another blanket into a square and place it under your knees and the roll – let your toes hang off the end.
My head and hips are miles off the floor
If you have a stiff back, or your muscles are tight from running or cycling, Child’s Pose is great to work on flexibility. However, if you’re really uncomfortable and straining in the pose you’ll just tighten up more and defeat the object. Use props like a cushion under your head or under your hips, depending on where the stiffness is in your back. You can also just make a rest for your forehead with your fists instead.
Arms forwards or backwards?
If you find your hips tend to lift a lot in Child’s Pose you might get the uncomfortable feeling of tipping forward, bringing too much weight in your head. Bringing your arms forward in front of you, instead of alongside your body, can help counter this a little. It also gives a different stretch and release in your shoulders and makes the pose a little more active.
Different strokes for different folks
We all differ in the way our thigh bones fit into our pelvis and we all have different amounts of flexibility in our hips. So this means a wide-legged Child’s Pose can be much more comfortable for some people than Child’s Pose with the knees together. The two variations stretch different muscles in the hips and back. Experiment with both kinds. Wide-legged version is a good variation for pregnant women and anyone else with a rounder belly. It can also feel less claustrophobic for some people.
The Functional Yoga Program – Learn how to adapt yoga poses to suit your own unique anatomy in this series of 9 classes with Anat Geiger, Esther Ekhart and Marcel van de Vis Heil