Child’s Pose is often used at the beginning of yoga class to get grounded and centered. It is meant to be a relaxing and steadying type of pose, however, what if it is not for you?
Have you ever dropped into Child’s Pose and been uncomfortable and you couldn’t get a part of your body to cooperate? Try some of the following variations to support a more comfortable Child’s Pose.
1. The knees can touch, allowing the thighs to touch.
As you lower your body toward the ground, your torso will lay itself down and on top of your thighs. This is a good option for those of us with limited lateral hip extension.
2. If you have more belly or torso flesh, try separating the knees wider.
You can even separate the knees as wide as the mat. As you flex your hips and lengthen forward, you have room for the belly. This is also a good option for pregnant yoginis.
Sometimes, students feel tingling, pain, or get cramps in their legs and feet during Child’s Pose. Use props to alleviate these hindrances.
One option is to roll a blanket into a small, narrow roll and place it underneath the ankles between the ankles/feet and the floor. Another opion is to place a blanket (thickly rolled or folded), or a bolster between the butt/thighs and the back of the calves.
The second option can also help students who are working toward reaching their pelvis back toward their heels but aren’t there yet.
3. Reach your arms forward, pressing palms into the mat
This variation is great if you want to have more of an active stretch. As you press your palms down, lift your upper and lower arms away from the mat.
4. Bend the arms at the elbows and keep the entire arm grounded to the floor.
This variation will give you a little bit more space to rest your arms and shoulders.
5. Reach your arms back beside your body and keep the palms facing up.
This is the best way to go if your shoulders do not feel great with arms forward as in the earlier two variations mentioned. Just remember to keep your arms beside the pelvis or heels, palms facing up, for greatest comfort in this position.
Traditionally, the student would touch their forehead to the mat, but sometimes, reaching the head to the floor causes discomfort.
Depending on your specific positioning, what touches the mat may vary; it may be the cheek, the temple or even the side of the frontal lobe area of the skull – play with it until you’ve reached a comfortable neck angle.
6. Reach the head to a block or two, or a bolster.
If you raise the floor to meet your levels of flexibility you may be able to relax and find comfort in Child’s Pose.
7. Turn the head to the side.
You may want to try turning the head to the side to stretch the neck, being sure to spend equal time on the other side.
Another quick fix is to make a pillow for your forehead with your hands. Simply place your palms on top of one another and rest your forehead or side of the head on the back of your hands.
Work with different variations on different days. Try not to get too attached to the option itself, but do what feels best for your body in today’s Child’s Pose.