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23 Aug 2019, Edition - 1501, Friday

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Health Matters

How to do Balasana: Steps and Benefits of the Child’s Pose

ndtv.com

Balasana is an easy yoga asana that can even be performed by beginners. In Sanskrit, bala means child and asana refers to one’s posture. Thus, this pose is also called Child Pose. It is a ‘counter’ asana for many asanas and is performed preceding and following Sirsasana as it is a resting pose. This is often the first pose taught to beginners. It is easy to follow and highly beneficial. If perfectly performed, the body faces the floor in foetal position (thus the name). It is also called Garbhasana and Shashankasana.

The key to yoga is in regulated breathing. If you get that part right, the rest just flows. T. Krishnamacharya, in his paper ‘Salutation to the Teacher and the Eternal One,’ says, “One important thing to be constantly kept in mind when doing asanas is the regulation of the breath. It should be slow, thin, long, and steady: breathing through both nostrils with a rubbing sensation at the throat and through the oesophagus, inhaling when coming to the straight posture, and exhaling when bending the body.”

Benefits of Balasana

1) Helps relieve fatigue. As this is a resting pose, it helps relax the body. The regulated breathing helps restore you to a state of calmness.

2) For the reasons mentioned above, this is also a great pose to ease anxiety and stress. Being curled up, makes one aware of the breathing pattern. Focussing on the breathing helps relax the mind.

3) The pose helps lengthen and stretch out the spine.

4) It also gently stretches the ankles, hips and shoulders.

5) Stimulates digestion and elimination.

6) By stretching the spine, it also helps ease neck and back pain.

Contraindications

This pose should not be performed if you fall in any of the below categories:

1) Pregnant women

2) Suffering from diarrhoea

3) Knee injury

Steps-by-Step Guide

1) Sit on your heels on a yoga mat or on the floor.

2) Either keep your knees together or apart.

3) Slowly, bend forward by lowering your forehead to touch the floor, exhaling as you do so.

4) Keep your arms alongside your body. Make sure that your palms are facing up.

5) Alternatively, you can reach out your arms towards the front of the yoga mat, palms placed facing down on the mat.

6) Now that you are in this pose, gently press your chest on the thighs (or between the thighs if the latter are apart).

7) Hold for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Regulate your breath.

8) As you inhale, imagine your breath is being driven through your navel, and pull your navel towards your spine.

9) As you exhale, soften your body and the arms. Repeat for 4-12 breaths.

10) Place your palms under the shoulders and gradually raise your upper body to return to the sitting position on the heels while inhaling. Do this very slowly as if uncurling the spine.

11) Relax.

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