What is Balasana? Balasana translates to child’s pose and is a kneeling posture in yoga with the forehead resting on the ground. Typically, balasana is used as a counter posture for asanas such as sirsasana (headstand) and is used in warm up and cool down sequences. There are a few ways to perform the asana: you can keep your knees together, or take them apart; allowing the chest to rest on the knees or in the space between the thighs. You can extend the arms out over your head, or rest them alongside the body; stretching or resting the shoulders. And you may want to use a prop such as a bolster or pillow for the forehead and/or body if you are particularly tight or find the resting posture uncomfortable.
The physical steps to balasana are not too difficult to master, but the mental aspect of this asana is where many will feel the benefits. Child’s pose, or balasana, is the ultimate posture of surrender. You not only surrender to gravity and the yoga mat, in a state of non-doing. But you surrender to the guidance of your higher self as you rest your forehead, or third eye, on the mat. This posture encourages you to go within and seek the guidance of your intuition. It can help us achieve self-realisation and surrender to our worldly attachments. If you ever find yourself overwhelmed, unsure, or lost in thought; taking a short child’s pose can benefit you. If you feel pushed to your limit – take a child’s pose. If you feel short of breath in a yoga class – take a child’s pose. If you want to calm your nervous system – take a child’s pose. If you want a moment for introspection and clarity – take a child’s pose. This posture forces you to connect with your breathing, your body, and your thinking mind; you might feel a more profound sensation of breath as your ribcage presses against the thighs, and in making ourselves small like a child we return to a more humble and modest state of being. Balasana is also an opportunity to surrender to the guidance of mother earth and ground yourself. As you rest here, try to really connect with the grounding energy of the earth, feel the pull of gravity and surrender more with each exhalation.
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To begin the pose, start by kneeling and sitting down on your heels. As you exhale, bend the body forwards (over closed or open knees, your choice) and send the arms either out stretched in front of you, or take them down by your sides with palms facing up. Perhaps you don’t find the posture that physically challenging, but the mental aspect of this wonderful resting asana will help prepare you to deepen your yoga practice; allowing the time and space to cultivate internal awareness and practice the art of surrender.