I thought I would start a new series on the blog talking about simple but effective yoga poses for beginners as I am a beginner at the moment myself. I wanted to start with a very basic yoga pose called the Child’s Pose.
HOW TO DO THE CHILD’S POSE
1. Begin on your hands and knees. Center your breath and begin to let your thoughts slow down. Turn your awareness inward and only focus on yourself at this time.
2. Spread your knees wide apart while keeping your big toes touching. Rest your buttock on your heels. Those with very tight hips can keep their knees and thighs together.
3. Sit up straight and lengthen your spine up through the crown of your head.
4. On an exhalation, bow forward and drape your torso between your thighs. Your heart and chest should rest between or on top of your thighs. Allow your forehead to come to the floor.
5. Keep your arms long and extended with palms facing down, Press back slightly with your hands to keep your buttock in contact with your heels. Lengthen from your hips to your armpits, and then extend even further through your fingertips.
6. For deeper relaxation, bring your arms back to rest alongside your thighs with your palms facing up and completely relax your elbows.
7. Let your upper back broaden. Soften and relax your lower back and allow all the tension in your shoulders, arms and neck to drain away.
8. Keep your gaze drawn inward with your eyes closed.
9. Hold for up to a minute or longer and breath softly.
10. To release the pose, gently use your hands to walk your torso upright to sit back on your heels.
BENEFITS OF CHILD’S POSE
1. It’s super calming for the mind
Placing your head (your ‘third eye’ or the spot just between your eyebrows) down on the mat has an instant calming and soothing effect on the brain. The inward fold of the body, with the eyes looking back towards you sends a signal to your brain that you’re safe, and that it’s OK to rest. I find this really helps when I’m having an anxiety attack. It’s perfect if you’re finding yourself in a place where you have many thoughts swirling around in your head.
2. It’s great for your digestion
Doing Child’s Pose with your knees closer together, so that your belly is resting on your thighs, is a great way to massage the internal organs which may help move your digestion along. Taking long, slow deep inhales and exhales in this pose will push your abdomen into your legs, and then draw it back up again. Doing this repeatedly is literally going to manually massage your intestinal tract. This is especially helpful if you have gas! Yes, I said it. It happens to all of us and that’s OK. This pose will help you move things through.
3. It elongates the lower back
If you sit at a desk all day like me, stand for long periods of time, or are otherwise alive in the world, chances are you have some compression on your lower back. This is because you tend to ‘dump’ our weight down there, and usually aren’t consciously pulling up and engaging your lower abdominals all day long (which you may be doing too, in which case, good for you!) Folding over your legs immediately reverses the splaying of the tailbone that can cause lower back pain. Child’s Pose allows you to open up and stretch this area of the body.
4. It opens up the hips
Like your lower back, your hips may be taking a beating in your day-to-day life. Sitting in a chair for long periods of time can actually tighten all of the muscles in and around your hips. By taking your knees wide apart in your Child’s Pose so that your belly can relax in between them, you will be getting a nice stretch and opening through the hips. This is going to reduce any hip pain you may be having, as well as improve or maintain the health of your hips throughout your life.
5. It reminds you that resting is a good thing
If you love to push yourself in your practice, you may be tempted to skip resting postures in classes, or to avoid doing them in your own practice. But remember that in yoga we are striving to cultivate a sense of balance. It’s not all about being at 100% effort all the time. Taking time to rest in your practice may actually help you to cultivate the ability to take time out in your everyday life. You may find that you are better able to stop and re-charge your batteries.
If you are looking to cultivate a better relationship with resting in your life, I highly recommend Child’s Pose and other resting postures on the mat.
Are you interested in trying out yoga? Do you have any pose recommendations for me to try?