Child’s pose…either the most comfortable reprieve from your practice you’ve ever experienced or the most odd and uncomfortable, possibly even suffocating thing you’ve done. Today we are going to fix that.

Balasana, or child’s pose, packs lots of benefits whether you are working through the traditional expression of the pose or one of the modifications you will learn below. It quiets the mind, improves digestion, it elongates the lower back, opens the hips, and reminds us that resting isn’t a bad practice.

Here’s how to do it:
Start in tabletop, on all 4’s. Knees and hips stacked, as well as shoulders and wrists. Now bring your toes together, keeping your knees in line with your hips. This may be far enough apart for your knees for you to be comfortable or you may need to spread your knees wider, or bring them closer together, either is fine.

Next sink your rear towards your heels, and lower your forehead to the mat. Arms can be outstretched in front of you with palms down for a more active pose, palms up for a more restorative pose, or arms down at your sides.

So where does this turn into an uncomfortable suffocation station and what to do instead:

  • Knee trouble/pain. If your knees are bothering you or you just don’t have enough room to lower your rear to your heels, try placing a blanket or bolster between your calves and the back of your thighs to provide extra support.
  • Head doesn’t reach the ground. Instead of hanging your neck or sitting in unsafe alignment, consider stacking your fists under your forehead to provide support, blocks also work great for this.
  • Booty in the air. It takes time for this to come down, sometimes it happens in the same practice and sometimes it takes weeks or months, help to ease the booty down to the heels and experience more low back release by placing a block under your forehead.
  • Can’t breathe/suffocation station. Sometimes this happens because our balance isn’t quite right, and our faces are smashed on the mat, and sometimes it’s because we are proportionally larger on top and there just isn’t room. The block trick, placing a block under the forehead helps with both of these.
  • Looking for more of an outer hip stretch. The further apart your knees are, the more inner hip opening you will experience, the closer together your knees are the more outer hip opening you will experience.

Take these tips to heart so that you can enjoy the benefits of child’s pose in your practice.