Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose): Steps, Benefits, and Contraindications

Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose or Dead Bug Pose) - Sharp Muscle
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Updated: February 19, 2023

The Ananda Balasana, also known as Happy Baby Pose or Dead Bug Pose, gently brings a greater awareness to your hip joints.

Ananda Balasana is considered to be one of the relaxation and relaxing postures that can be done for better sleep and relaxation of the whole body.

It is a yoga pose that allows you to suppress and revitalize stagnation in life. It is especially the need of the contemporary world to lead a life which is joyful and stress-free.

So, turn on the blissful mode and discover the bliss by diving into the divine child within us.

Information

Known as:Ananda Balasana, Happy Baby Pose, Dead Bug Pose
Sanskrit name:आनन्द बालासन
IAST:ānand bālāsana
Pronunciation:ah-NAHN-dah bah-LAH-sah-nahNA
Type:Hip opener, restorative, relaxation, supine, stretch
Level:Beginner
Focus:Hips, hamstrings, inner thighs, groin
Total time:30 to 60 seconds
Drishti:Tip of the nose (Nasagre)
Chakra:Swadisthana Chakra, Muladhara Chakra
Indications:Fatigue, tiredness, stress, calm, anxiety, or depression, menstrual cramps
Counterposes:Child’s Pose (Balasana), Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana), Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Setu Bandhasana (Shoulder supported bridge pose)
Preparatory poses:Reclined Hand-to-foot Pose (Supta Padangusthasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana), Hero Pose (Virasana), Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana), Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)
Follow-up poses:Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana), Reclined Twist Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana), Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Shvanasana), Wind Relieving Pose (Pawanmuktasana), Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Contraindications:Knee injury, neck injury (support the head on a thickly folded blanket), high blood pressure or low blood pressure, pregnancy

Meaning + Mythology

Ananda Balasana

Meaning

The Ananda Balasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of three words — Ananda + Bala + Asana:

  1. Ananda” = “happy or “blissful”
  2. Bala” = “child or baby”
  3. Asana” = “pose or posture”

The name becomes true just by looking at the nature of Ananda Balasana. While practicing it, one assumes the physical form of a child or small child resting on their back, supine and completely relaxed.

Ananda Balasana may have a more profound effect than its playful form. It awakens the inner child, brings us back to flawless awareness of the world around us. While adulthood brings constant stress and personal challenges, Happy Baby reigns over our ability to make a pure observation of what is happening in the present.

Ananda Balasana calms the active mind, urging the urge to let go, relax and be once again mesmerized with whatever moves around and through us.

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Mythology

The story behind this mudra involves King Dasharatha of Ayodhya and his wish for a rightful heir. He had three powerful wives, but no children, and this caused an uproar throughout the kingdom. Mother Earth had also prayed for a protector to keep her natural splendor safe from over-indulgence and destruction. Dasaratha acted as the protector of Dharma, and the call of Mother Earth called Vishnu to return order to Dharma’s weak wick. Vishnu uses birth to bring in a divine being known as an avatar for protection against certain evils.

The avatars represent untapped potential waiting to be discovered, the king offered a sacrificial offering consisting of golden milk pudding, which was distributed among his three wives. They all became pregnant and gave birth to Dasharatha’s champion, bringing balance to dharma and salvation on earth.

The gods in mythology are said to represent aspects of ourselves and how we relate to our body and mind. For example, Dasharatha translates to ‘ten chariots’ and represents our body as a chariot drawn by the horses of our senses. Our soul serves as the rider and our mind acts as the rein.

Symbolizes one who has authority over mind and body, like a yoga practitioner. By gaining control over our senses through yoga or meditation, we are manifesting our inner divine qualities, and from that a happy child is born.

Benefits of Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)

Happy Baby Pose can also help calm the mind and promote relaxation. It’s a great pose to practice at the end of a yoga session or before bedtime, and it’s suitable for yogis of all levels, including beginners.

Practicing Ananda Balasana (Dead Bug Pose) can have tremendous benefits on the physical and mental health, which are listed below:

  1. Physical Benefits:
    • Stretches the spine, groins, hamstrings, and inner thighs
    • Realigns the spine
    • Opens the hips, inner thighs, and groin
    • Relief from the back pain
    • Therapeutic for the women experiencing chronic pelvic pain1
    • Alleviating and relieving menstrual cramps
    • Massages the abdominal organs
    • Improve the functioning of the kidneys
    • Improves the blood filtration process and removes toxins
  2. Mental Benefits:
    • Promote restful sleep by relaxing the body and calming the mind
    • Reduces the stress
    • Release emotional tension and promote a sense of inner peace
    • Improve mood and promote feelings of happiness
    • Relieves anxiety or depression

Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose) Practice Guide

Ananda Balasana (Dead Bug Pose) is a gentle and relaxing yoga posture that targets the hips, thighs, and lower back. The pose resemblance of the posture to a happy baby lying on its back, and it’s a favorite among yogis of all levels.

To practice Happy Baby Pose, you begin by lying on your back and drawing your knees towards your chest. You then take hold of the outsides of your feet with your hands, and gently press your knees towards the ground. This pose helps stretch the inner thighs, groin, and hamstrings, and can be a great way to release any tension or tightness in the lower back.

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By practicing the pose with proper alignment helps you get most out of the pose, here’s how to practice Happy Baby Pose:

Instructions

  • Come to lie on the back, bend the knees gently towards the chest.
  • Keep the knees wide apart on either side of the torso.
  • Reach down and grasp the outer part of each leg with the respective hand. The shoulders and head should remain on the floor.
  • Keeping the soles of the feet towards the ceiling, bend the knees and bring the shin straight down on the floor as if you were going to stand on it. Maintain this position of the shins and feet throughout the Asana.
  • Firmly flex the feet and activate by separating the toes.
  • If they’ve shifted upward, pull the upper arms back into their shoulder sockets.
  • Anchor the sacrum on the mat and apply some pressure to the feet with the hands to create slight traction.
  • Keep the sacrum on the mat no matter what!
  • Stay here for 60 seconds, and then release the knees by pulling them into the chest.

Alinment tips

While practicing Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose), keep these things in mind, it help you access the pose with proper form and safety:

  • Keep your lower back on the mat: As you draw your knees toward your armpits, be sure to keep your lower back in contact with the mat. If your lower back starts to lift off the mat, it’s an indication that you’re overstretching and should release the pose a bit.
  • Keep your feet flexed: Flexing your feet engages your leg muscles and helps protect your knees. Make sure to keep your ankles directly over your knees and press your feet upward as you pull your hands down.
  • Relax your shoulders: As you pull down on your feet, make sure to keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears. Don’t strain your neck or shoulders by trying to pull your feet too hard.
  • Don’t force your knees to the floor: It’s okay if your knees don’t touch the floor in this pose. Just focus on keeping your feet flexed and your ankles directly over your knees.
  • Use props if necessary: If you can’t reach your feet or feel any discomfort in your lower back, use a strap or towel to loop around the arches of your feet. You can also place a block or bolster under your sacrum for support.

Common mistakes

While practicing Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose) watch out these common mistakes to avoid any injuries:

  • Lifting your lower back off the mat: It’s important to keep your lower back in contact with the mat as you draw your knees toward your armpits. If you feel any strain in your lower back, try releasing the pose a bit.
  • Forcing your knees to the floor: Don’t try to force your knees to touch the floor in this pose. This can cause strain in your hip joints and lower back. Just focus on keeping your feet flexed and your ankles directly over your knees.
  • Tensing your shoulders: Make sure to keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears. Don’t strain your neck or shoulders by trying to pull your feet too hard.
  • Overextending your legs: Avoid overextending your legs or straightening them out completely. This can cause strain in your hamstrings and lower back. Keep your knees bent and your feet flexed.
  • Not using props when needed: If you can’t reach your feet or feel any discomfort in your lower back, use a strap or towel to loop around the arches of your feet. You can also place a block or bolster under your sacrum for support.
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Modifications

Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose) modifications can make the pose more accessible and comfortable. Here are some modifications you can make to Dead Bug Pose:

  • Using a strap or towel: If you can’t reach your feet with your hands, you can use a strap or towel to loop around the arches of your feet. Hold the ends of the strap with your hands and gently pull your feet toward your armpits.
  • Supporting your lower back: If you feel any discomfort in your lower back, you can place a block or bolster under your sacrum for support. This will help you relax into the pose and open up your hips and inner thighs.
  • Bringing your feet closer together: If you have a limited range of motion or tight hips, you can bring your feet closer together. This will make the pose easier and more accessible.
  • Keeping your knees bent: If you have knee pain or discomfort, you can keep your knees bent instead of straightening your legs. This will reduce the pressure on your knees and help you avoid any strain or injury.

Precautions and contraindications

It is important that you understand the proper way to practice Ananda Balasana (Dead Bug Pose) to avoid injury and get the most out of the pose.

However, there are precautions and contraindications to keep in mind while practicing Ananda Balasana, which are explained below:

  • Pregnancy: If you’re pregnant, it’s important to avoid deep twists and stretches in the abdominal area. Modify the pose by bringing your knees closer to your chest and avoiding any pressure on your belly.
  • Lower back pain: If you have lower back pain, it’s important to practice the pose with caution and avoid any strain on your lower back. Use props like a block or bolster under your sacrum to support your lower back.
  • Knee injuries: If you have a knee injury or pain, it’s important to avoid putting pressure on your knees. Modify the pose by keeping your knees bent instead of straightening your legs.
  • Hip injuries: If you have a hip injury, it’s important to avoid any strain on your hip joints. Modify the pose by bringing your knees closer to your chest and avoiding any pressure on your hips.
  • Blood pressure: Holding the breath can also raise blood pressure levels, so it’s important to breathe smoothly and steadily throughout the pose.
Note:
It’s important to listen to your body and avoid any discomfort or pain during the pose. If you have any medical conditions or injuries, it’s always best to consult with your doctor or a qualified yoga teacher before practicing. They can help you modify the pose or suggest alternatives that will be safe for your body.
Sources

  1. Pain Medicine, Volume 18, Issue 10, October 2017, Pages 1864–1872, https://doi.org/10.1093/pm/pnw306. Development and Feasibility of a Group-Based Therapeutic Yoga Program for Women with Chronic Pelvic Pain. Available here: https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article/18/10/1864/3737820[]

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