Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

How to Do Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
Ann Pizer

Type of pose: Supine

Benefits: Releases the low back, stretches the hamstrings and glutes.

Have you ever seen a baby in happy baby pose? It's completely true that babies love this position, assume it quite instinctively, and look pretty pleased about it. Until you started yoga, you probably hadn't tried this position for a long while. Once you start doing it, however, it feels completely natural and pretty awesome.

Practice it at the end of a yoga session, perhaps just before savasana, to take advantage of your warm muscles. If your teacher invites you to take any last poses before your final relaxation, this is always a good choice. 

Instructions:

1. Begin by lying down on your back.

2. Bend your knees and hug them to your chest.

3. Open your knees wider than your torso.

4. Reach around the outside of each knee with your hands to hold the outer edge of each foot. Keep your upper arms plugged into your shoulder sockets. 

5. Stack each ankle directly over the knee, so that your shins are perpendicular to the floor.

6. Flex your feet.

7. Draw your knees towards the floor with your hands while keeping your sacrum flat on your mat. Your feet can push slightly into the hands to offer a bit of resistance. Your elbows will bend out to either side.

Beginners' Tips

1. If you can't comfortably reach your feet in this position, try a strap around each instep.

 

2. If it feels good, you can rock from side to side a a little. 

3. Note that your knees are not drawn into the chest but are instead on either side of your chest, moving into your arm pits. 

4. Don't pull your feet down so much that your butt comes off the floor. You have to strike a balance between keeping your sacrum down and moving your knees toward the floor.

 

Advanced Tips:

1. Straighten one leg at a time out to the side while keeping hold of both heels. 

2. Extend one leg all the way to the floor out in front of you. Flex your foot and press the back of your thigh into the mat. This is half happy baby. Do both sides. 

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