What Is Happy Baby Pose in Yoga? Origins, Methodology and Benefits
Happy baby pose or ananda balasana is a reclining position that stretches the outer hips, inner groins, chest, and shoulders.
It also lengthens the spine and releases tension in the lower back. This pose is great preparation for many seated poses. This yoga posture resembles a reclining squat, and it can be a great alternative for people who cannot squat due to knee problems.
What Is Happy Baby Pose?
The Happy Baby Pose is an exercise that stretches and relaxes your spine and mind. It's a yoga poseyou can do in bed, and it's a great way to wind down at the end of a long day. It's also known as the Resting Pose.
It's an easy movement, so it’s ideal for beginners. Instructors often include the pose as one of the first or last poses in a yoga class due to its calming effect on both the body and mind.
Origin of Happy Baby Pose
Ananda Balasana translates to 'Happy Child Pose' in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language. Ananda means joy or happiness; bal means child or baby, and asana means posture.
While practicing Ananda Balasana on your back, you imitate the natural motions of a baby reaching for its toes and rocking from side-to-side. This gentle movement can relax you in much the same way it calms babies, and it may help you reconnect with your inner child.
The Happy Baby Pose is a great way to stretch and relieve tension in your back and legs. However, there are some common mistakes people make when doing this pose.
Make sure your shoulders remain on the floor or mat at all times, so don’t raise them as you reach forward. If you find it's not possible to keep your shoulders flat, instead of grabbing and holding the inside or outside of your feet, grab and hold your ankles or shins.
For those who find it difficult to keep their heads on the mat, a rolled blanket or towel underneath the neck will provide support. Grabbing ankles or shins instead of the feet is also an option. If you’re a beginner and can’t grab your feet at all, hold a yoga strap around the arch of your feet to achieve this pose.
To do Happy Baby Pose
Here's how you do this pose:
- Lie down, bending your knees toward your chest.
- Have your head on the floor, face up with feet pointing up toward the ceiling.
- Grabbing the inside or outside of your feet; spread them apart, and bring them toward your armpits.
- Flexing your heels into your hands, gently rock back and forth like a happy baby.
Benefits of Happy Baby Pose
There are plenty of health benefits you gain with a happy baby yoga pose, such as:
1) Relaxes the body and mind
Happy Baby Pose is a simple, soothing stretch that opens up your hips, groin, and inner thighs. It also stretches your hamstrings. As you rock back and forth, you might not even notice how much tension you carry in these areas until you feel some relief during your practice.
2) Relieve Stress
Happy Baby yoga helps you let go of distractions and enjoy the moment. When you practice breath awareness in Happy Baby, you can feel a sense of peace wash over you.
3) Boost Heart Health
The yoga practice of Happy Baby pose can help your heart, too. A small research review found that doing yoga lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and improves mental health. It also helps lower the risk factors for heart disease when compared to not exercising at all. So if you want to keep your ticker happy, try a little yoga at least once a week.
To make the Happy Baby yoga accessible and comfortable for everyone, try these modifications:
1) Use Yoga Mat
If your head, neck or shoulders are lifting off the ground or if it’s difficult for you to grab your feet, place a yoga strap around the arch of each foot.
2) Making Use of Elbows
Spread your knees apart by using your elbows as a wedge. The added pressure will help you relax and slip into a more comfortable position for the stretch.
3) Holding One Leg At a Time
Lift one leg at a time to get into the stretch. If you have trouble keeping your pelvis, neck and head down on the ground, focus on that area instead of letting your upper body lift up. That'll help balance the flexibility between your limbs.
There are tons of benefits to practicing yoga. If you're yet to try it, make sure you do. Yoga provides a tremendous difference in how you feel and how your body feels. It’s important to understand how to correctly perform poses like the Happy Baby, as doing them incorrectly can lead to injury.
The key is finding a pose that works for you, and knowing when it’s time to modify or stop. The Happy Baby Pose is one of the rarer poses, but it’s worth it because of all the benefits it provides. Eventually, though, there is no one 'right' way to do yoga. When you find a practice that feels good for your body and mind, don’t be afraid to stick to it.