I once had a yoga student say, ‘Oh! I used to sleep like this when I was a kid!’ but for most of us, Child pose, while relaxing, is not the kind of pose we’d find ourselves in without being guided into it.
Still, relaxation is incredibly important and Child’s benefits go beyond offering a pose for students to relax into any time they want to break from what the class is doing.
Child is said to be especially good when menstruating. Mukunda Stiles, in Structural Yoga Therapy writes that it can help eliminate extra fluid and energy.
Apart from stress relief, benefits include stretching the spine, hips, thighs and ankles.
It should be avoided if you are pregnant, have diarrhoea or if a knee injury makes it uncomfortable.
Child can also encourage self-care. Even with a yoga instructor telling you to feel free to relax into Child anytime you choose, you’re still likely to pause as you watch what everyone else is doing.
Yet learning to choose what’s right for you in any given moment is liberating and empowering.
Notice the variations. Sometimes, the outstretched arms (pictured above) are what you feel like. Other times, you may want to rest with the hands as a pillow for your forehead (see below) or even wrapped around your torso, first resting on one temple and then gently turning so both sides of the neck feel balanced.
If you want to play with Child pose, while it’s traditionally taught with the knees together, many adults simply aren’t shaped that way. So you may want to kneel with your knees wide apart and big toes together. This will allow you to relax more deeply into Child than attempting to keep the buttocks on the heels as your forehead reaches for the mat (of course, if your body does work that way and you find it relaxing, go for it!).
You can also use Child pose to consciously release any headaches and heart aches into the earth, knowing it can all be recycled for the benefit of the planet.
What’s your favourite Child pose variation?
What are your other favourite relaxing asanas?
Any top tips for Child you feel like sharing? Feel free to use the comments section.
IF YOU’RE NEW TO YOGA AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THESE POSES, GO TO A YOGA THERAPIST OR INSTRUCTOR. IF YOU’RE NEW TO EXERCISE, CONSULT YOUR GP BEFOREHAND. ALWAYS HONOUR YOUR BODY’S OWN WISDOM