Supported Child Pose (Restorative child’s Pose): Steps, Benefits, and Contraindications

Supported Child Pose (Restorative child's Pose or Salamba Balasana) - Sharp Muscle
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Updated: February 15, 2023

Supported Child Pose, also known as Restorative Child Pose or Salamba Balasana, helps relieve tension in your lower back, creating a sense of security from your early days. The pose is one of introversion, curling up and reconnecting with feelings of support and release.

Supported Child’s Pose is a familiar pose of relaxation and sleep for infants and young children.

Meaning

The Sanskrit name for Restorative Child’s Pose is “Balasana”. “Bala” means child and “asana” means posture or pose, so Balasana translates to “Child’s Pose”.

The pose is named after the relaxed and comfortable position that babies often adopt while sleeping or playing, which resembles the posture of Balasana. The pose is also sometimes called “Supported Child’s Pose” or “Relaxation Pose”, as it is a gentle and restorative pose that can help to release tension and promote relaxation in the body and mind.

Information

Known as:Supported Child Pose, Balasana, Restorative Child Pose, Salamba Balasana
Sanskrit name:बालासन
IAST:bālāsana
Pronunciation:bah-lah-sah-nah
Type:Restorative pose, gentle pose, relaxing pose
Level:Beginner-level
Focus:Spine, hips, thighs
Total time:2-5 minutes
Drishti:Down towards the ground;
Towards the point of contact between the forehead and the support (such as the bolster or blankets)
Chakra:Muladhara (Root) Chakra, Swadhisthana (Sacral) Chakra, Anahata (Heart) Chakra, Vishuddha (Throat) Chakra
Indications:Back pain, relaxation and stress, digestion, reduce bloating, menstrual cramps and menopause, headaches, fatigue, anxiety, Lowers blood pressure and heart rate, sense of inner peace, neck and shoulders, spine, hips, thighs
Counterposes:Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana), Supported Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana), Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Preparatory poses:Reclining Hero Pose (Supta Virasana), Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana), Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani), Supported Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Follow-up poses:Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani), Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana), Supported Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)
Contraindications:Chronic back conditions, including but not limited to spondylolisthesis, spondylolysis, spinal stenosis, disc disease, nerve symptoms (such as radiating pain or numbness, or difficulty with bowel or bladder function)

Benefits of Supported Child Pose (Restorative child Pose)

Restorative Child’s Pose (Salamba Balasana) offers a variety of physical and mental benefits, including:

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Physical benefits:

  • Stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles: Stretches and opens up the hips, thighs, and ankles, which can help to alleviate tension and stiffness in these areas.
  • Relieves lower back pain: The pose helps to stretch and release tension in the lower back, which can help to relieve pain and discomfort in this area.
  • Improves digestion: The gentle compression of the abdomen in Salamba Balasana can stimulate the digestive system and help to improve digestion and elimination.
  • Lowers blood pressure: The relaxation and deep breathing associated with Salamba Balasana can help to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
  • Calms the nervous system: The pose is a relaxing and restorative pose that can help to calm the nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety.

Mental benefits:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety: Restorative Child Pose is a calming and grounding pose that can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Promotes relaxation and restful sleep: The relaxation and restorative nature of Balasana can help to promote relaxation and restful sleep.
  • Increases mindfulness and self-awareness: Balasana can help to cultivate mindfulness and self-awareness by allowing you to focus on your breath and body sensations.
  • Encourages introspection and self-reflection: Supported Child Pose can be a meditative pose that allows you to turn inward and reflect on your thoughts and emotions.
  • Promotes a sense of inner peace and well-being: Salamba Balasana can help to promote a sense of inner peace and well-being by allowing you to relax and let go of stress and tension in the body and mind.

Supported Child Pose (Restorative child Pose) Practice Guide

Restorative Child’s Pose is a more accessible form of Child’s Pose (Balasana) because it requires less flexibility in the lower back and body to twist.

To enter Supported Child’s Pose (Salamba Balasana), arrange bolsters on the mat in front of you, perhaps facing upward on the block to allow enough height to fully support your entire torso. You kneel in front of the bolster with your toes, knees apart, then your body leans forward over the bolus, rotating your head to each side.

To further modify this yoga pose, additional cushioning can be placed under your knees or behind your knees to reduce the pressure here. The pose can also be practiced on high stacks of bolts to make the pose more accessible.

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Step-by-step instructions

Supported Child Pose (Restorative child's Pose or Salamba Balasana) - Sharp Muscle
image credit: Ariane Ladouceur

Step-1

Begin by kneeling on a carpeted floor or blanket, knees hip-width apart and bolsters in front of you. If needed, use more padding under the knees and shins. To avoid stress on the outer ankle ligaments, point the toes straight back and not toward each other. Sit back on the heels.

Step-2

If you experience discomfort in the knees, ankles, or tops of the feet, come up and try one or both of the following adjustments. Place a towel folded lengthwise at the bend of the knees to make more room in the knee joints. Place the other towel, rolled lengthwise, in front of the ankles, and allow the feet to hang over the roll. Experiment with the thickness of these folded and rolled towels to find the right one for you.

Step-3

Sit on the ankles again. Extend knees wide enough to keep bolster between thighs. To increase relaxation, hold a sandbag across your lower back while leaning forward. The weight of the bag helps to relax the muscles of the lower back.

Step-4

The torso should be fully supported by the bolsters and thighs and chest should rest easily on the bolster. Allow the tailbone to move toward the heel. This action will lengthen the lower back as you relax. The buttocks should not touch your heels.

Step-5

If you need more help, try one of the following variations. Come into a kneeling position and place a long roll blanket over the heels and sit back, or come into a kneeling position and raise the height of the torso support by adding one, or more single-fold blankets. If you have difficulty breathing, push the bolster forward so that it only supports the breastbone and allows the belly to hang freely.

Step-6

Turn the head to one side, and bring the chin slightly towards the chest. During the practice of the mudra, make a half turn of the head in the opposite direction. If the head-side position is uncomfortable, rest on the forehead and tuck the chin slightly toward the chest. Make sure you can breathe easily regardless of head position.

Step-7

Position the arms so that they either reach back toward the feet or go forward around the edges of the bolster. The position of your arms is unimportant; It is important that you are comfortable. Close your eyes.

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Step-8

Take several slow breaths. While doing this, let the shoulders go away from the ears. Relax the stomach and feel supported. If you have menstrual cramps, the counter-pressure of the bolster on the abdomen can feel especially good.

Step-9

Practice the Supported Child Pose for 3 minutes, and make sure you spend an equal amount of time turning your head in both directions. Open your eyes. Reach back with one hand and slide the sandbag from behind and to one side. Place palms on the floor, under your shoulders, and press the hands on the floor, inhale and slowly sit down on the ankles. Relax for a moment. Come in a kneeling position and, while keeping the foot on the floor, immediately bring one leg forward. Press the hands on the front thigh, and take a deep breath as you come to the standing position. Coming out of the pose in this way prevents problems in the knees.

Precautions and contraindications

Precautions and contraindications are conditions or circumstances in which a yoga pose, such as Restorative Child’s Pose (Balasana), should be avoided or modified to prevent any discomfort, pain, or injury. Here is a more detailed explanation of the contraindications for Balasana and why they should be avoided or modified:

  • Use props: To avoid putting pressure on the knees, ankles, or hips, it is important to use props such as blankets, bolsters, or pillows to support your body in the pose. This can help to make the pose more comfortable and prevent any discomfort or strain in the joints.
  • Modify as needed: If you have any injuries or physical limitations, it is important to modify the pose as needed to avoid exacerbating your condition. You can use props to support your body and make the pose more accessible and comfortable for you.
  • Knee or ankle injuries: Balasana involves kneeling on the ground, which can put pressure on the knees and ankles. If you have a knee or ankle injury, it is important to modify the pose or avoid it altogether to prevent any further damage or pain in these areas.
  • Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the body undergoes many changes that can affect the comfort and safety of certain yoga poses. In Balasana, the belly can be compressed if the torso is not supported, which can be uncomfortable or even harmful for the growing fetus. It is important to modify the pose by placing a bolster or pillow under the torso to support the belly and prevent any discomfort or pressure.
  • High blood pressure: Balasana involves a forward fold, which can increase blood pressure in some individuals. If you have high blood pressure, it is important to avoid deep forward folds and inversions, which can exacerbate this condition.
  • Diarrhea or stomach issues: Balasana involves a compression of the abdomen, which can exacerbate any discomfort or pain in the stomach or digestive system. If you have diarrhea or other stomach issues, it is important to avoid this pose to prevent any aggravation of these conditions.
  • Recent surgery: After surgery, the body needs time to heal and recover. Practicing yoga poses too soon after surgery can put strain on the healing tissues and delay the healing process. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional and avoid certain poses, including Balasana, until you have fully recovered.
  • Listen to your body: It is important to listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself beyond your limits in the pose. If you experience any discomfort or pain, you should come out of the pose and rest in a comfortable position.
  • Consult with a Yoga teacher or healthcare professional: If you have any concerns or medical conditions, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before practicing Balasana or any other yoga poses.

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