How to: Childs Pose
Start on your hands and knees. Widen out your knees as far as shoulders width apart. Big toes touch each other. Slowly start to drop your hips back to rest on your heels.
Rest your forehead on the floor and you can either extend your arms straight out towards the front of the mat, or drape your arms on the floor alongside your body.
Here is the place to focus your breath and intention and rest your body with full attention.
Continue to breathe and feel your spine lengthen and feel a great release of the low back.
Benefits of Childs Pose:
- Stretches the legs: ankles, thighs, hips, knees
- Relieves stress and fatigue
- Releases back tension
- Releases neck tension
For the lay person or Yogi, Childs pose is the go to place in the middle of a practice when you are feeling overwhelmed, tired or too challenged. It is also a very comforting protective pose to go to when you are feeling stressed. It eases low back tension and aids blood flow to the spine and brain. It's an easy place to stop and take breaths. You can get a nice feeling in the hips of a deep forward bend without the restraint of tight hamstrings. Stay here for 1 minute to 10 minutes.
For the athlete, this pose also offers the de-stressing place, however in addition it is a valuable tool. Athletes from long distance runners to soccer players and golfers should visit this position to keep the ankles supple and flexible. It stretches the tops of the foot and therefore the shins, helping to avoid the painful shin splints when practiced often.
In addition, childs pose increases the flexibility in the knee joint. For hockey players to tennis Pro's a flexible knee joint is a huge advantage to avoid injury and absorb shock that may be incurred from the game of play.
Finally, childs pose opens the hips and quads. Whether you play baseball and need great hip torque for power or you are a stop and go player of Lacrosse, or even a weekend warrior, many injuries can be avoided if the hips are open and strong.
Although you should always consult your physician and research a properly trained yoga teacher before starting a yoga practice, there are a few instances where you should avoid this pose entirely:
- Recent knee surgery
- Recent back surgery
- Late stage pregnancy
- Acute stomach problems
Have fun exploring this pose and learning about your body.
Gwen Lawrence has been a practicing fitness professional since 1990.Her current practice includes private yoga training, class instruction and her sport-specific Power Yoga for Sports training program www.poweryogaforsports.com.Gwen's unique combination of dance, massage and yoga training experience, coupled with her extensive knowledge of anatomy, nutrition and homeopathy, provide her clients, class participants and athletes with overwhelming benefits. Gwen is the yoga instructor for several New York Yankees baseball players, team yoga instructor for the New York Giants, New York Knicks, New York Red Bulls, and the Pace University baseball team; as well as many youth teams in a variety of sports. She is also the official spokesperson for AFRIN PureSea. Visit her website at www.poweryogaforsports.com