Pose of the Month: Happy Baby Pose

Ananda Balasana

You can probably imagine what this pose would look like by its title. I often tell my students if they're in a good mood it's happy baby pose. If they're not feeling so great, it's dead bug.

How to: Happy Baby Pose

Lay on your back and draw your knees into your chest. Reach down and grab the outsides of your feet. Make sure to square your feet toward the ceiling.

If you cannot reach your feet hold a strap that is draped across the balls of the feet. Make sure your ankles are lined up directly over your knees and knees are forming a 90 degree angle or are perpendicular to the floor.

On your exhales you will gently persuade your knees in toward your armpits. If you are really flexible start to bring them closer to the floor alongside your body.

Lengthen the neck and try to lower the tail bone to the floor, giving a nice release to the low back.

Benefits of Happy Baby Pose

If happy baby is done properly and consistently, you will notice the benefits:

  • Helps relieve stress
  • Increases vitality
  • Gently stretches low back
  • Opens groin and inner thigh
  • Stretches calves
  • Releases neck strain and tightness

For the lay person or yogi, happy baby pose elongates and lengthens the back. The pose offers a safe way to release low back tension, as well as neck strain from long hours at the computer.

This pose is also a great way to open the hips and groin. It would be a great warm-up pose for people who are getting ready to workout, or a nice morning stretch.

For the athlete this pose should be considered before the start of any training or workout. It gives an easy groin/inner thigh stretch without strain on the back. 

I love to teach high aerobic athletes, like soccer players and  tennis champs, this pose because it allows them to become aware of symmetry in the hip flexibility.

While pulling the feet toward the armpits it will become clear which hip is tighter giving athletes knowledge of what to do to avoid potential injuries.

For example, if the right knee doesn't come nearly as close to the armpit as the left, it's an indicator that deep hip openers need to be done on the right, like pigeon pose (see past article). 

You should always consult your physician and research a properly trained teacher before starting a yoga practice.

Here are a few instances where you should avoid this pose entirely:

  • Serious neck injury or recent surgery
  • Pregnant woman should take caution
  • People with herniated disks

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

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