When things get tough in life or asana, go within.
Yoga is about self-realization, it is a remembrance of who we really are. That higher state of being that we seek is already within us -- all we need to do to is surrender our attachments.
Balasana, or child’s pose, is an act of surrender that can bring this awakening. As you fold your belly over your thighs, you meet your original essence. With your gaze inside, you go back to the innocence and newness of childhood, to a time when your higher self was all there was.
Go into balasana whenever you find yourself pushing limits in body and mind. Go here when your breath becomes uneven, or you become caught up in what is outside of you. Go here after an inversion, such as kick and float, to calm your nervous system and bring your mind back to a central point. No matter why you go into balasana, you’ll find incredible strength by going within.
The Hale Pule method for balasana
Many people teach balasana with the arms extended out and the legs spread wide. But at Hale Pule, our method aligns with the essence of the pose. We instruct students to keep their thighs close together, straight in front of their hips and to rest their arms alongside their bodies, gently holding the bottoms of their feet. The difference in these variations may seem subtle, but the results are quite profound. When the legs are together, you can fully rest without straining the ligaments in the hip joints, and your spine retains a soft curve that draws your drishti, gaze, inward, calming the nervous system. When your arms are alongside your body, your heart does not need to work so hard to pump blood to your extremities. What results is pure calm and surrender. Take a look at the common trouble spots below to learn more.
Here at Hale Pule, we talk about asana with three designations: essence, anchor and strength. This is a simple tool to remember the intention of the pose, where your body is grounded and the muscles you engage for proper alignment. These components will support optimal energy flow and a sustainable practice throughout your life.
Balasana from the ground up
Balasana is a great practice for times when you experience overwhelm or anxiety. Spend a few minutes breathing here to surrender your attachments. You can even breathe through your mouth until the disturbance passes.
1. Start by sitting on your heels.
2. Fold forward so your belly rests on your thighs and your forehead is on the earth. Extend your arms alongside your legs. Either rest your palms face up or gently take hold of the soles of your feet. Relax here and take slow, even breaths.
Place pillows below the forehead or buttocks if flexibility is limited.
Place a small pillow or thin blanket roll under your ankles or behind your knees if you experience any strain.
Common trouble spots
Legs spread. Maintain the calming essence of the pose by keeping your knees in line with your hips. This allows for a soft curve in the spine and draws your attention inward. It also invites peace into your ligaments and hip joints.
Arms extended. Make balasana a practice in ahimsa, or kindness, for your body. Keeping your hands on your feet creates a closed circuit of energy that draws you inward. It also invites softness in the shoulder joints and reduces the amount of effort your heart needs to do to pump blood to your extremities.