Child’s pose is the quintessential relaxation posture. You know this if you have ever participated in a yoga class. Usually, this pose is utilized as a break in between more challenging yoga flows or strength-building exercises like plank or downward dog.
Not only is the child’s pose a relaxation position meant to help calm the heart rate and relieve the muscles, but it can also be a great stretch too. Specifically, this pose may feel good on your hips, legs, ankles, and back. While this may seem like a stretch you really want to crank into, it is actually more effective if you surrender to the subtlety of it. Focusing on the sensation of the stretch and the quality and deepness of your breath allows for a multitude of benefits.
If you are ready to include the child’s pose into your stretching routine, this article is the one for you. Keep reading to learn how to correctly perform a child's pose. We also cover the benefits of regularly doing child’s pose as well as ways to modify the stretch if it is not available to you as traditionally performed.
What is Child’s Pose?
Child’s pose is a well-loved pose from the practice of yoga. All you need to complete this pose is some free space on the floor. Because this is performed with your knees bearing weight against the floor, it might also be useful to have a yoga mat or padded area to take some stress off of the knees. That is not required though.
We suggest starting this pose from the Tabletop position. In your free space, come onto all fours with your hands deliberately placed underneath your shoulders and your knees placed underneath your hip points. Keep your gaze directed down at the floor and pull your belly button in towards your spine. This will help make sure your back body is in proper alignment.
From this position, take your knees wide and toes together. If you are working on a yoga mat, your knees can go as wide as the outer edge of your mat. Once your knees are widened, sit your hips back towards your heels as you reach your arms forward. Slowly lower your chest and your head down towards the floor bringing your forehead to rest on the Earth.
Breathe deeply as you hold this position. We recommend inhaling deeply through your nose as you feel your chest and belly expand. Then, exhale long and low through your mouth as you allow your body to sink into the stretch. Hold here for a series of breaths or for an extended amount of time - whichever feels better for you.
Child’s pose is a great pose to come into whenever you need a rest or if you feel particularly stressed. It requires no special equipment and can be done for as long or as little as you like.
The Benefits of Child’s Pose
Child’s pose has a multitude of benefits - for both the physical body as well as the brain and nervous system. The thighs, hips, and ankles all get a nice stretch from this pose especially when paired with deep breaths. The pose should also feel great in the back muscles, shoulders, neck, and arms. It really is a posture that positively affects the whole body.
Not only that, but this pose is extremely relaxing. When feeling stressed or fatigued, this pose can be utilized as a way to calm yourself and come back to center. Child’s pose can be used to get more in tune with the needs of your body. Learning when your body needs this pose, especially if doing it as part of a greater yoga practice, can be highly beneficial. We recommend using a child’s pose as part of your cooldown routine after a hard workout.
Child’s Pose Modifications
If a child’s pose, as described above, is not accessible for you and your body right now, don’t worry! There are many ways to modify this relaxing stretch to fit your needs, no matter what they may be.
Child’s pose can be completed by keeping the legs together and sweeping the arms to reach towards your feet or the back edge of your yoga mat. From a kneeling position, with the legs pressed together, bring your torso to rest on top of your thighs. Sweep the arms towards your feet with the tops of your hands resting on the ground. Oftentimes, this certain position can feel even more relaxing.
Many times, a child’s pose feels intense on the ankles or tops of the feet. If this is the case for you, use a folded blanket or towel under the feet and ankles as a way to relieve that pressure.
You can also use a pillow or blanket between the heels and the glutes as a way to elevate the hips. If resting the head on the ground is too uncomfortable, or your forehead cannot reach the ground, use a pillow to remedy the situation.
Starting in a tabletop position, slowly sit the hips back onto the heels. Knees are wide and toes are touching. Reach both arms in front of you and allow your chest and head to find the earth.