//Balasana (bah-LAHS-anna): Child’s Pose
We have found ourselves, yet again, in a new year. What a delight! The air is crisp and fresh, and feelings of rebirth and new beginnings are all around. Whether you are new or familiar with the practice of Yoga, start this year off in balasana to help you find the courage and relief to align with your path.
Balasana is a relaxing and restorative pose for the mind, body, and spirit. The cocooning of the body provides us with a space to hear the voice within and begin to release the chatter of expectations that surround us. Here, direction becomes more visible, the mind clears, and anxiety of our own inadequacy releases. Build your goals and resolutions for the year from this place, and like a child, submit to the wonder of your own story as it weaves forward and back and all around. When you find hardship, or feel as though you have lost your way, come back to balasana to ground your mind.
Start by kneeling on your mat. Bring your big toes together, and depending on your body and what feels best to you, either leave your knees hips width apart or bring them together as well. Either way, sit down onto your heels. If you find that it is a challenge for you to sit on your heels without discomfort, roll up a thick blanket and place it between your calves and the backs of your thighs, then sit down.
Lay your torso down onto your legs or in between your legs, and lay your forehead to the mat. Allow length to occur from your tailbone to the crown of your head.
Place your hands in one of two ways. For an active position, place your palms on the mat over your head, lengthen through your arms and feel a stretch through your shoulders, back, and side body. For a more restorative position, place your arms directly on either side of your legs with the backs of your hands touching the mat. This will allow a deeper opening through your back body and in between your shoulders.
Begin to focus on your breath and release outside distractions. With each inhale expand through your torso, and with each exhale allow your body to release.
If you have a knee injury, do not perform balasana unless you are in the presence of an experienced instructor. If you are pregnant, take caution to not place pressure on your growing belly, so either avoid balasana altogether or, with the supervision of an instructor, choose the leg variation where your big toes are together and your knees are wide, allowing your belly to go in between your legs.