Restorative Yoga Pose of the Week – Child’s Pose

In Restorative Yoga, Child’s Pose can bring a sense of security as you wrap your body around the props.  This pose leads the practitioner to more introversion(looking inward, reflection).  It gently stretches the lower back through spine flexion, relieves shoulder tension, and can help with menstrual cramps or symptoms of menopause.  This pose can help with grounding or bringing down high energy levels in the body.

Always advise your doctor before beginning any yoga practice.  Cautions for this pose include spondylolishthesis, spondylolysis, spinal stenosis, disc disease, or nerve symptoms(radiating pain or numbness, or difficulties with bowel or bladder infection).  Avoid this pose if more than 3 months pregnant.

Setting up this pose can take some time.  Place your bolster vertical on the mat and between your knees that are spread wide.  The openness of your knees is up to you and your own comfort level.  Play around with different widths.  Check in here for any discomfort(knees, feet, hips).  If there is no discomfort, lie your chest down on the bolster while angling your hips back over your feet.  Place your forearms down on the ground and turn your head to the left or right, finding which side is most comfortable to you.  You may also experiment with placing your forehead on top of your hands that are stacked on the bolster.  In this pose, it is important for your head and shoulders to be on the same plane as your hips.  If your head is lower, add a folded blanket or two until you reach even height.  Now you are set up in this pose.  If you feel any tingling, numbness, or pain, come out of the pose.

Options for more comfort include a rolled up blanket underneath the feet or a folded blanket behind your knees.  A blanket added underneath you as well will help protect your knees against the ground.  If you add any blankets to this pose, check back in with your head and hips making sure that they are even.  Blankets can be added underneath your forearms if you feel you are stretching to reach the ground.  If turning your head to one side is not comfortable, cross your forearms on your bolster and place your forehead on top of your hands.  For added grounding, a sandbag may be placed on your sacrum, which is the flat bone located at the base of the spine.  Don’t be afraid to add multiple blankets for any of the above.  The goal is comfort and relaxation!

Once you are set up in the pose, begin your rhythmic breathing through your nose, and perform a body scan to release any tension you are holding in the body.  You are welcome to stay in this pose as long as it is serving you.  Average time may be around 3-5 minutes.

When coming out of this pose, do so slowly and with intention.  Rest your forehead on the bolster and using your hands, press yourself away from the bolster and sit back on your legs.  Spend time here preparing for what is next.

Watch Katie demonstrate how to set up this pose:

 

Resources:

Carey, L. (2015). Restorative yoga therapy: The Yapana way to self-care and well-being.
Forbes, B. (2011). Yoga for emotional balance: Simple practices to help relieve anxiety and depression. Boston: Shambhala.
Lasater, J. (1995). Relax and renew: Restful yoga for stressful times. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.