How to Practice Extended Child’s Pose Stretch
Practice extended child’s pose stretch to help to draw energy inward creating a calming and soothing effect. This is a wonderful way to “cool yourself down” physically, mentally, or emotionally.
Remember that, yoga is not about “doing a pose”, but about awareness of how you feel or how you react to a posture. So what’s important here is becoming more aware of your body in space and noticing sensations as you experience the posture. This is a simple yet powerful pose that can be done on its own or used as a resting pose before or after other postures.
How to Practice Extended Child’s Pose Stretch
Step 1: Bring your awareness into the present moment:
- Kneel onto your mat
- Come onto your hands and knees feeling the connection of your body touching the floor
- Take a deep breath in and a deep breath out
- Bring your big toes together and knees apart about as wide as your hips
- Take a deep breath in
Step 2: Let go of tension:
- Sit back on your heels and let your breath out
- Extend your arms in front of you
- Bring your forehead to the floor resting your torso on or between your knees and thighs
- Stretch your arms forward, sit back on your heels and soften through the armpits
- Notice where you feel sensations in the body and do your best to let go of any judgment you might feel about yourself or your body
Step 3: Become aware of your breath:
- Take a big full breath in
- Feel your belly expand against your legs, fill up the lungs, and the chest, exhale out the mouth allowing your whole body to soften
- Let go of any tension in the eyelids, the jaw, and the throat
- Now notice the natural rhythm of your breath for a few moments here
Step 4: Breath on purpose:
- Slowly begin to breathe consciously
- Breath in and out through the nose keeping the mouth closed if you can
- Start to even out your inhales with your exhales so that they become about the same length
- Count to 4 or 5 on the inhale and apply the same count on the exhale
- Take 5 full rounds of this breath and then notice how you feel
- Continue this deliberate breath (even inhale/even exhale) or simply allow your breath to be natural, letting the body deeply relax
- Stay here for up to 5 minutes
What’s in it for me?
Ease low back pain:
Physically this will give the whole spine a good stretch, releasing tension in the low back, quads, knees, and ankles.
Relieve stress and anxiety:
If you suffer from headaches or simply a lot of stress. Doing this posture for 5 minutes a day can help calm the nervous system and release happy hormones.
Stretch those hips:
Most of us store a lot of tension and emotion in our hips, which pulls our pelvis out of alignment, potentially causing pain in our back and even our knees.
Calm the mind:
We spend most of our day reacting or responding to external information. This posture gives us a chance to let go of that stimulation by turning our attention inward. This simple gesture can create profound effects on the brain increasing our ability to concentrate and stay focused.
How to Modify Extended Child’s Pose:
If Child’s Pose doesn’t feel great on your ankles, hips, or knees, you can use props for more support!
Here are a few options to make Child’s pose work for those who have tighter hips, knees, or sensitive ankles.
Option 1: Hurts Ankles
Try cushioning your feet with a blanket on top of your whole mat. Maybe wear sox and also put about an inch or so of a cushion (a folded blanket or a towel) under your feet.
Option 2: Stiff Hips
If you just can’t get your head to the mat, try putting a block or blanket under your forehead bringing the floor closer to you.
Option 3: Tight knees
If it doesn’t feel good on your knees, try putting an evenly folded blanket in between your seat and your heels. You can use up to 3 blankets if you need to. Just make sure they are folded neatly and not all bunched up.
Option 4: The DEE LUXE version and my fav!
Place a bolster under the front of your whole body and sit back on your heels with or without a blanket. You can keep your forehead on the bolster or turn your head to one side if that feels better.
If none of these options work, not to worry, there are plenty of ways to decrease stress and support your body.
Instead, take a savasana.
- Lie flat on your back with a blanket rolled up under your knees
- Grab an eye pillow or a small towel, and place it over your eyes to block out the external light.
- Allow your breath to be natural and let your stress melt into the floor.
- Stay here for at least 3 minutes or until you feel like getting up.
Remember that every day is different and yoga is a practice. Our ultimate aim is to strengthen our connection to who we truly are. To do this, we keep showing up on our mat, make shapes and breathe some life into them. Then the next day, we do it again. :)
English: Extended Child’s Pose.
Sanskrit: Utthita Balasana: (oo-tee-tah ba-LAHS-sana)
Meaning: Utthita – extended, Bala -child, asana – pose