The Ananda Balasana or Happy Baby Pose is a stretch common to yoga and Pilates.
Yoga is an activity of the mind and the body that focuses on increasing flexibility, breathing, and strength and improving mental well-being. Pilates includes some yoga-like movements that enhance range of motion, balance, and flexibility and help strengthen and tone muscles.
The Happy Baby Pose is a part of these two types of workouts because of its gentle, calming motion and many health benefits.
The Ananda Balasana is a nice treat you can give yourself any time. However, it feels incredibly relaxing after a workout.
What is the Ananda Balasana?
In Sanskrit, ananda means "happy," bal "means "child or baby," and asana means "pose."
The asana derives its name from a pose that babies generally perform. While lying on their back, many babies reach for their toes and feet and then rock back and forth. It's a simple, gentle, and soothing movement.
The Ananda Balasana aims to calm and relax your inner child the same way it does for babies.
The Ananda Balasana is ideal for beginners.
Ananda Balasana: Technique and Correct Form
This exercise can be performed on a yoga mat, carpeted, or padded surface. You can support your neck with a small pad, pillow, or folded blanket.
- Lie down on your mat, maintaining a neutral spine position. The natural curves of your spine should not be exaggerated in this position.
- Pulling your knees toward your chest, raise your legs while keeping your hips down. Keep your hip sockets soft. Your neutral spine and tailbone should be on the mat.
- Flex your feet; the soles of your feet should be facing the ceiling.
- Wrap your two index fingers around your big toes, and pull down lightly. Your feet will still be facing the ceiling, but your hips will open up, allowing your knees to come closer to your chest as you relax.
- You can also hold your hands around the outside of the foot and grab them around the arch.
- Take your time to relax, and breathe deeply. Enjoy the stretch in your hamstrings.
- Allow your back to release naturally on the floor. Just be a happy baby.
Benefits of Ananda Balasana
Ananda Balasana or the Happy Baby Pose allows you to open your hips and stretch your hamstrings and groin. It also helps to release the back and sacrum.
In yoga, this asana is advised to help relieve stress and fatigue, calm you down and center you.
The Ananda Balasana mimics how a baby grabs its toes and plays with them. This simple motion makes your spine flexible, just like it was when you were a baby.
The Happy Baby Pose is also recommended in Pilates, as the founder of Pilates, Joseph Pilates, was much inspired by the movement of babies.
Performing this exercise before bedtime can help you achieve better sleep and relaxation.
The benefits of performing the Happy Baby Pose are listed below.
- It opens the inner thighs, hips, and groin
- It reduces lower back pain
- It realigns and stretches the spine
- It eases stress and anxiety
- It gets rid of tiredness and fatigue
- It stretches your hamstrings
- It lowers your heart rate
Avoid these common errors to obtain the maximum benefits of Ananda Balasana.
- Your shoulders should stay on the floor and your legs reasonably parallel to the ground for the perfect form. This won't be easy if you have very tight hips. If you cannot perform the asana without raising your shoulders, modify where you place your hands (place them near your ankle instead of grabbing your toes) so that your chest remains open and your shoulders remain on the mat.
- Make sure that your neck is in contact with the mat; otherwise, your chin will be lifted, and your neck will be at risk of strain. Apply the same solution as given above, i.e., try to grab your ankles instead of your toes and consciously try to keep your neck relaxed and on the mat. You may also place a rolled towel or blanket underneath your head for support.
Takeaway and Contraindications
The Happy Baby Pose is an excellent way to relax in the evening or after a grueling workout. It offers tremendous physical and emotional benefits and calmness of mind. Do you want to feel happy? Just perform the Happy Baby Pose and watch your stress melt away.
You must avoid this asana if you are pregnant or have a knee or neck injury. The exercise requires you to lie on your back, which might decrease circulation to the fetus. Hence, avoid it till after you have given birth.
Q. When do you prefer to perform the Happy Baby Pose?