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Ananda Balasana or Happy Baby Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

Ananda Balasana
English Name(s)
Happy Baby Pose
Sanskrit
आनंद बालासन/ Ananda Balasana
Pronunciation
ah-NAHN-dah bah-LAH-sah-nah
Meaning
Ananda (आनंद): means “bliss”
Bala (बाल): means “baby”
Asana (आसन): means “pose”

Ananda Balasana at a Glance

Ananda Balasana or the Happy Baby Pose, is practiced for its gentle stretch and relaxation benefits. The pose involves holding the feet and gently rocking to release muscle tension. Ananda Balasana stretches lower back, hips, inner thighs, and inner groins. Incorporating a Happy Baby Pose in your daily practice helps you destress and rewind. It is generally practiced as a restorative yoga pose to relax and unwind.

Benefits:

  • Ananda Balasana stretches and opens the hips, thighs, and groin, providing greater flexibility.
  • The pose helps relieve lower back issues by providing good blood circulation.
  • The pose aids digestion by stimulating the digestive organs.
  • Regular pose practice helps enhance flexibility in the hips, thighs and lower back area.

Who can do?

People with tight hips, flexors, and groins who want to relax and rewind can practice this baby pose, Ananda Balasana. The pose helps to release tension in various muscles.

Who should not do?

People with recent knee injury, spine or neck issues, high blood pressure and injury to legs or arms should avoid this Happy Baby Pose or modify the baby pose Ananda Balasana.

Introduction

Ananda Balasana or Happy Baby Pose, is gentle and soothing, inviting a sense of childlike playfulness and joy on the mat. The pose is used to reconnect with our inner child, embracing the simple and carefree nature of the joyful baby. The pose is usually used in restorative yoga sequences and yin yoga sequences. It gently stretches the muscles of the hips, inner thighs and groin in your yoga practice.

Chakras

 Ananda Balasana stimulates the Root Chakra (Muladhara chakra) and Sacral Chakra (Svadhishthana).  The pose helps you stay grounded and innocent like a child. The pose also resembles the fluid and creative aspect of the child. The pose helps balance your energy centres, calming down the nervous system and providing a deeper relaxation.

Philosophy

The Happy Baby Pose Ananda Balasana resembles a Happy Baby’s joyful and carefree nature. The pose’s innocence and simplicity resemble the human beings’ true nature without any influence of the ego and conditions of society. The pose encourages us to find harmony within ourselves and in our surroundings.

How to Do Happy Baby Pose?

Follow the Step by Step Instructions

  • The pose involves lying on your mat. Bring your knees closer to your chest with the soles of the feet facing the roof.
  • Hols your inside or outside edge of the feet, whatever is comfortable.
  • Keep your knees bent and wide apart, wider than your armpits.
  • Slowly start rocking from side to side like a happy baby. Flex your ankles.
  • Keep repeating the movements with proper inhalations and exhalations.
  • Hold the pose for few breaths and release slowly.
  • Do not strain your neck. Keep your head on the ground.

What are the Benefits of Ananda Balasana?

Benefits of Ananda Balasana
  • Ananda Balasana or Happy Baby Pose, stretches and opens up the hips and thighs, thus making it an excellent pose for people with tight hips or who spend long hours sitting at a desk.
  • Happy Baby Pose Ananda Balasana improves flexibility and mobility in various muscle groups. With practice, it helps to strengthen these muscles and release tension.
  • The slight rocking movement and stretching relieves the tension in the lower back, thus relieving lower back issues.
  • Pregnant women should modify the pose as needed. The pose helps in relaxation.
  • Ananda Balasana calms the nervous system and promotes relaxation. Holding the pose for a longer time provides a deeper relaxation.
  • The pose stimulates the abdominal organs, thus enhancing the digestive process and helping to relieve symptoms of constipation and bloating.
  • The pose encourages better blood circulation by opening up hips and groins.
  • Holding the pose for a longer duration encourages stronger inner thigh muscles and helps ton these muscles over time. The pose has many health benefits.

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from Ananda Balasana

  • People with tight hips and groin muscles benefit from the pose, thus enhancing their flexibility.
  • The pose helps to relieve lower back pain.
  • The pose helps relieve stress and anxiety.
  • The pose acts as a restorative practice for rewinding and destressing.
  • The pose stimulates the digestive organs, thus aids in digestion and relieves constipation and bloating.
  • Ananda Balasana helps to balance emotions and manage mood by promoting better blood circulation.
  • Pregnant women can practice the modified version of the pose to get good relief in the hips and lower back.
  • The pose provides menstrual relief from cramps for women.
  • Ananda Balasana provides relief from sciatica by stretching lower back muscles.
  • Practicing Happy Baby Pose improves overall flexibility and mobility.

Safety and Precautions

  • People with recent hip, knee, or lower back injuries should avoid the pose.
  • People with neck injuries should either modify or avoid the pose.
  • People with legs, knees or arms injury should avoid or modify the pose.

Beginner’s Tip

  • You can lie on your mat and practice few deep breaths.
  • Start with some stretches and warm up to open your hips.
  • Hold your big toes with your fingers on both feet and press towards the chest. You should use a yoga strap if the hips are too tight or unreachable. Slowly, with practice, try to get the flexibility.
  • You can also place a yoga block under your chest to support you in the final pose.
  • Your head should be on the mat, shoulders and neck should be relaxed. Maintain deep breathing throughout the pose and relax for a longer time to get the maximum benefit of the pose.
  • Keep lengthening your spine. Practice regularly.
  • Release the pose by proper inhalations and exhalations and coordinating with the movements.

Ananda Balasana and the Breath

  • Lie on your mat. Inhale and Exhale, slowly hold your feet’ outer or inner edges towards your chest.
  • Keep your spine straight and body relaxed. Keep your head relaxed. Take a few deep breaths.
  • Inhale and Exhale, relax your muscles, keep your legs wide apart, and slowly start to rock.
  • Relax with each exhalation, and repeat for a few cycles till you feel calm and relaxed.

Ananda Balasana Variations

  • You can use a yoga strap for your feet if you cannot hold your feet with your hands.
    • You can keep your arms around your calves or the back of your knees if you find it difficult to hold your feet.
    • You can place a folded blanket under your head or lower back for a tight neck.
    • You can hold your feet with your fingers on the outer edge of your feet to get the maximum flexibility in the pose.
    • You can bring your knees closer if not comfortable.

Unique Facts about Ananda Balasana

  • It is a preparatory asana for many seated poses and has many health benefits.
  • Happy Baby Pose resembles a squat, so it becomes great for people who cannot do normal squats while bearing weight on their knees.
  • It is used for many restorative practices since it soothes the nervous system and calms the mind.
  • The pose itself is very comfortable to practice and uplifts your mood immediately.

Deepening Ananda Balasana

  • Always start your practice with a good warm-up. Focus on proper alignment with breathing. Synchronize breathing with movements. Your shoulders remain relaxed.
  • Be gentle and progress slowly towards the final pose. Practice slow rocking for a deeper stretch.
  • Hold the pose for 30 to one minute to relax completely. Use props if required.
  • You can close your eyes to focus inward, to fully relax and rewind during the pose.
  • You can explore variations for deepening the pose as the left foot extends on the floor and the other foot towards the armpit. Alternatively, add a twist by placing legs on one side, inversion, or practicing the bound angle pose while in the Ananda Balasana pose. You can also practice Ardha Ananda Balasana to release any tension in the pelvic area.

Physical Alignment Principles of Ananda Balasana

  • Keep your spine with your chest open.
  • When you lift your legs, see which position you can hold with your hands.
  • Engage your core, relax, and slowly lift your legs towards the chest with breathing.
  • While rocking, see that you are doing movements with your breaths. Engage the whole body and relax in the pose.

Common Mistakes

  • Do not overach your spine. Maintain it neutral. Maintain the natural curve of the spine.
  • The head should stay on your mat to avoid the strain on your lower back and the weight should be evenly distributed.
  • Do not put any pressure on your neck and shoulder. Keep them relaxed throughout the practice.
  • Keep the soles of your feet up and feet flexed to get a deeper stretch.
  • Do not force your feet while pulling towards the armpits.
  • Engage your core to avoid injury to your lower back.
  • Hold your feet firmly to maintain proper alignment of the pose.
  • Do not hold your breath anytime during the practice. Do not put any unnecessary pressure on your hip joints. Use props if needed. Consult a healthcare professional for better practice.

Preparatory Poses

Follow Up Poses

Take Away

Ananda Balasana or Happy Baby Pose, is a relaxing and powerful yoga pose for your inner awareness and relaxation. It is a part of most restorative yoga practices to unwind and relax. The pose is simple yet effective, offering various modifications and variations to suit different needs and flexibility. Ananda Balasana is a restorative yoga pose that allows inner growth and peace. It’s required to practice as per your body awareness. Perform the stretches at your level and comfort. Practice regularly to get the optimum benefit of the pose.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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