Not everybody likes child’s pose. For many people, child's pose is a favorite. It's restorative, restful and cozy, and it can relieve pain and anxiety within the space of a few breaths. But it isn't that way for everybody.
As a yoga teacher, I have seen many students struggle to get comfortable in child's pose. Most people see child's pose as an easy pose that anybody can do even if it's their first time on the mat, but the reality is that some bodies just don't like the traditional shape of child's pose. Some bodies just don't want to bend that way, and that is perfectly okay!
We shouldn't have to modify our bodies in order to fit the shape of our yoga practice, but rather our yoga practice should be modified to fit the shape of our bodies. There is nothing wrong with you if you don't like child's pose! But because this pose comes with so many benefits, let's explore some ways to make this pose more accessible.
Named balasana in sanskrit, child's pose comes with many benefits, including:
- calming and grounding the mind and body
- soothing headaches
- opening the hips
- stretching the spine
- relieving lower back pain
- stretching the shoulders
- massaging the internal organs
- soothing menstrual cramps
You can still get all of these amazing benefits with the modified variations of child's pose below.
TRADITIONAL CHILD’S POSE
Come down onto your hands and knees. Bring the big toes to touch. Knees can be together or apart, depending on your comfort. Taking the knees wide does give more space for the belly to expand with breath.
Walk the hands forward, reaching the arms straight out in front of you and draping your upper body over your thighs. Let your forehead find the floor. Take a big breath in and exhale, completely relax your entire body. Stay here for ten deep breaths or up to three minutes. Supported variations can be held longer.
CHILD'S POSE WITH PROPS
Start by coming down onto your knees. If you'd like, you can also place a folded blanket or cushion under your knees and under your hips for extra padding. Take your knees wide. Big toes touch. Bring the bolster between your knees so you can drape your entire torso over the top. These props help to correct the most common problem I see in child’s pose: booty floating way up in the air. Once you’re settled in, turn your head to one side. You can rest here for up to ten minutes. Just make sure that you turn your head to the opposite side halfway through so your neck doesn't become stiff.
CHILD'S POSE WITH EXTENDED LEGS
For this variation, you will need a bolster and a yoga block. Lie down on your belly on top of the bolster. Stretch your legs out behind you, and rest your forehead on the yoga block. The arms can be bent with elbows under shoulders or the arms can be extended. This option is great for people with knee pain or neck pain, and it still gives you all the benefits of traditional child's pose. You may rest here for as long as you'd like.
CHILD'S POSE IN A CHAIR
If getting down to the floor is a no-go for you, you'll love this third modification! This option uses two chairs facing each other, a yoga bolster and a yoga block. Sometimes we just have to get a bit creative!
To come into the pose, be seated in a chair with the feet flat on the floor. If they don't reach, use blocks or books to bring the floor to you. Set your block on the chair in front of you and place one end of the bolster on top of the block and the other end between your knees. Make sure it's secure and then drape your upper body over the bolster. You can rest here for up to ten minutes. But again, make sure you turn your head the opposite direction halfway through so your neck doesn't become stiff.
I hope this pose helps you feel relaxed and supported. You deserve it!
If you'd like to see how to set up and execute these poses, play the video below.