Happy Baby Pose  -Ananda Balasana

Step by step

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent into your chest.
  • Inhale - take hold of the inside or outside of your feet.
  • Open your knees wider than your torso and bring them towards the floor next to the armpits.
  • Make sure your ankle is directly over your knees (90 degree angle).
  • Flex through your heels, gently pushing your feet into your hands, pulling the hands down to create resistance.
  • Try to bring thighs in towards the torso and down towards the floor.
  • Extend your spine by lengthening your tailbone and draw your belly slightly in.
  • Maintain the length in the back of your neck.
  • Hold for 30 - 60 seconds.
  • To come out of the pose, bring feet back onto the floor on an exhale.

Beginners tips

  • If you can't reach your feet, try using a belt or scarf looped around each arch of the foot.
  • You can also hold the shins or the back of your thighs.

Benefits

  • Gently stretches inner groin and spine.
  • Calms the mind, relieving stress and fatigue.
  • Opens hips.
  • Strengthens the arms.
  • Releases and decompresses the sacroiliac joint.

Watch out for

  • If you have a neck injury, or your chin sticks up when the head lies flat on the floor, support the head on a blanket.
  • If you have ankle or knee injuries take hold of behind the thighs to reduce any strain.

Variations

  • You can try holding the inside of your feet or holding your ankles.
  • Vary the pose by keeping your toes together.
  • Allow your tailbone to curve into the air slightly to release your sacroiliac joint.
  • To get a deeper stretch, try gradually straightening your legs while pulling your feet down, don't allow hips to lift off the floor.
  • For a core exercise let go of your feet but keep the legs in position, push your hands up to the ceiling lifting the upper body - imagine you are doing an upside down Bakasana / Crow pose!