Child's Pose, or Balasana, is one of the most important Asanas in a Power Yoga class; it is a starting point, and a place of rest throughout a session. It's posture a lot of people brush off and don't consider throughout their practice. Balasana is so important, at least to me; it's been there for me when I needed it most. When I first started out in my Yoga Teacher Training, it became a place for me to slow my heart rate, and served as a reminder to stay with my breath. On tough days I’ll come to my mat and take Child’s Pose; feeling angry, frustrated, on the verge of tears… it became a place for me to surrender to my feelings. Even throughout a practice I will still come into Child’s pose when it becomes too much for me; it’s been an important Asana in my tool kit, and I’ll never be afraid to take it. At first I thought it meant that I was weak, but I soon discovered that it was essential to understanding my body and mind. I found that I was not focused on myself in a classroom of other yogis; rather, I was in competition with them. It took a couple of weeks for me to realize that I had to release that mindset and focus on my own personal practice, as I didn’t want to be sore for a few days after a class because I pushed myself too hard. Balasana allowed me to surrender completely; it helped me to focus on myself.
This is why I believe it is essential for me to share what Baron Baptiste says about Balasana:
“Child’s pose awakens the connection between your breath and your body and releases and relaxes all the muscles. But Child’s Pose can also be home base for the duration of your practice. It is a resting pose that slows down the heart rate and provides full-body rest, allowing for deep restoration. Come to Child’s Pose as often as you need during your practice. Beginning students may have to come here ten, twenty, a hundred times during their practice, and that’s perfectly OK. Give yourself permission to do that, to take care of yourself. If you need to rest, just be true to yourself. No worries, no hurry – you’ll get stronger in increments and build more stamina over time.
While Child’s Pose is a resting pose, it is not the same as flopping down on your mat to catch your breath. If you abruptly stop practicing and start looking around the room, you scatter your energy. The whole alignment of the pose is geared toward internalizing and restoring your energy and keeping your focus inward.
Set the pace of your practice right here by relaxing your face, dropping your mask. Soften the muscles of your face – the muscles of your personality. Commit to coming out from behind your mask into an honest, relaxed, joyful state of presence.” (Baron, P. 74)
As with any Asana, there are modifications to make it more comfortable. If it’s uncomfortable for your arms to be stretched out in front of you, you can bring them alongside your body with the palms up to the ceiling or sky.
“Sometimes the storms of life can literally bring us to our knees. This pose gives the opportunity for spiritual surrender, to realize that “of myself, I can do nothing, but there is a power in me that can.” We spend our whole lives resisting the idea of surrender; we see it as weakness, as giving up. Then suddenly we hit a point where we realize that the moment of “letting go” is not when life is over. It is when life really begins.” (Baptiste, P. 75)
Baptiste, B., & Corman, R. (2003). Journey into power: how to sculpt your ideal body, free your true self, and transform your life with yoga. New York: Simon & Schuster.