Ananda Balasana or Happy Baby Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

Ananda Balasana
English Name(s)
Happy Baby Pose
Sanskrit
आनन्द बालासन / ānand Bālāsana
Pronunciation
AH-nahn-dah-BAHL-ahs-ahna
Meaning
Ananda: “blissful” or “pure bliss”
Bala: “baby”
āsana: “posture”

Introduction

Happy Baby Pose is a wonderful, relaxing pose that helps to open up the hips and gain some length and traction through the lower back. It’s a very popular pose to do at the beginning of more vigorous yoga classes to help prepare the body for exercise. It is also sometimes done at the end of class as a relaxing finishing pose to help integrate the effects of the practice.

Although Happy Baby Pose is generally seen as a simple beginner pose it can be valuable for practitioners at all levels of experience and made more intense or easier according to the needs of the student.

A study had shown that Yoga is a great way to reduce the number of components that contribute to Metabolic syndrome. After only one year of Yoga practice, waist circumference was significantly improved and there seems like it may be some trend toward decreasing blood pressure levels in practitioners as well!

Muscle  Focus

Happy Baby Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • Gluteus
  • Gracilis
  • Hamstrings
  • Adductors
  • Tibialis posterior
  • Calf Muscles (Gastrocnemius)

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • It helps to relieve tensions in the spine.
  • It releases muscles around the hip joint.
  • Happy Baby Pose is an effective hip-opener.

Benefits of Ananda Balasana or Happy Baby Pose

Benefits of Ananda Balasana

1. It Calms the Brain

Practicing Ananda Balasana is a great way of destressing yourself. It helps in calming the mind and relieving anxiety and stress. This asana is beneficial for people suffering from agitation, insomnia, or depression.

2. It Stretches the Inner Thighs, Groins, Hamstrings, and Spine

Ananda Balasana is a great hip opener pose that lengthens the muscles of your upper leg area including groin, hips, and hamstrings. Apart from this it also opens up your chest region by stretching the shoulders. Along with that, it increases the flexibility of your entire body.

3. It Reduces Lower Back Pain

Ananda Balasana is great for stretching the lower back area and reducing pain in that region. It also cures constipation, sciatica, and diarrhea by massaging your abdominal organs.

4. It Improves Digestion Power of the Body

Ananda Balasana or Happy Baby Pose helps to improve digestion power by stimulating internal organs like kidneys and bladder due to pressure applied on them during this asana practice. This asana works well for curing diarrhea, constipation, sciatica, etc.

5. It Relieves Fatigue and Tiredness

Practicing Ananda Balasana is a great way of relieving fatigue and tiredness. It also releases tension from the lower back area which is a common source of discomfort for us due to our long hours sitting jobs or other activities.

6. It Lowers Heart Rate

This asana helps in lowering your heart rate and calming down both mind and body by releasing stress, anxiety, and depression. This pose is beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure problems too.

7. Helps in Easing Menstrual Cramps

You will be surprised to know that Ananda Balasana can also help in curing menstrual cramps because it stretches the inner thighs and groin muscles. This asana should be avoided by pregnant women.

8. It Decompresses the Sacrum

Ananda Balasana decompresses the sacrum, thereby releasing pressure and pain in the lower back region.

9. Minimizes the Risk of Getting Injuries in the Upper and Lower Body

Ananda Balasana is a great pose that helps in minimizing the risk of getting injuries in your upper and lower body. It strengthens the muscles in these areas and also increases flexibility.

10. Energizes your Body

The Happy Baby Pose serves as a pick-me-up pose that energizes your body and increases blood circulation in the lower back region. It is also known to release tension from this area of your body which causes stress, anxiety, or fatigue.

Contraindications

Even though this pose, is simple, relaxing, and easy, you should still be careful. It is recommended to consult your doctor before practicing Ananda Balasana if you have a knee or ankle injury.

People with extremely tight hips should not practice this pose. It is also not recommended for pregnant ladies. Also, if you are suffering from neck and shoulder injuries, you can give this pose a miss.

Common Mistakes and Variations

Happy Baby Pose is a pretty simple pose that can be done in different ways. However, there are a few things that should be noted.

If your lower back comes far up off the floor, then you won’t be stretching your hips as much as you’ll be stretching your lower back. Happy Baby can be used to stretch the lower back, which is fine. Just understand that if you want to open your hips you should keep your back on the floor.

The more you bend the knees the less of a stretch your hamstrings will get. Some people will accommodate difficulties in Happy Baby by significantly bending the knees so that the heels are closer to to the buttocks. Again, this is fine, but it will take the stretch out of the hamstrings. Traditionally the pose is done with legs at a 90-degree angle.

Alternatively, if a practitioner has very flexible hamstrings, they may wish to straighten the legs a bit more to bring more stretch into the back of the leg. Just try to keep the lower back from lifting up significantly.

Happy Baby can be turned into a valuable core exercise and a prep for Crane Pose by reaching the hands between the legs and lifting the head, shoulders and upper back off the floor into a crunch position.

Preparatory Pose

  • Pawan Mukta Asana (Wind Releasing Pose)
  • Supta Kapotasana (Reclining Pigeon Pose)
  • Malasana (Deep Squat Pose)

Beginner’s Tips

  • If you can’t easily hold your feet with your hands, try holding each foot with a yoga strap looped around the middle arch.
  • You can place a block under your sacrum to support it.
  • To come out of the pose, slowly release your feet and straighten your legs. Rest in Corpse Pose (Shavasana) for a minute or two before getting up.

How to do Happy Baby Pose

The steps involved in practicing Ananda Balasana are given below:

  • Lie on your back on a Yoga mat placing your arms at both sides.
  • Inhale and bend your knees into your belly. Grip the outsides of your feet with your hands, or loop a strap or belt over each foot.
  • Open your knees slightly wider than your torso, then bring them up toward your armpits.
  • Position each ankle directly over the knee, so your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Flex your feed. Gently push your feet up into your hands (or belts) as you pull down to create resistance.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to one minute, breathing deeply through the nose.

Mental Benefits of Happy Baby Pose

  • It calms the brain.
  • A great way of destressing.
  • Relieves anxiety and stress.
  • Beneficial for people suffering from agitation, insomnia, or depression.
  • Concentration power.
  • Eliminates lethargy, tiredness, worry, anger, etc.
  • Activates your Sacral (Swadisthana) Chakra and Root (Muladhara) Chakra.

Bottom Line

This pose is one of the most popular, especially in gentle classes, but it’s simplicity is deceiving. Ananda Balasana or Happy Baby Pose is a great beginner’s pose that helps in stretching the hips, spine, and chest area along with relieving fatigue and stress.

In Yoga, whenever we encounter a simple pose, it gives us the opportunity to go inward and experience the sensations arising in the physical body, the movement of energy throughout the body or the rising and falling of thoughts and emotions. Simple poses give us a chance to ask who we really are deep down.

If you’re interested in accessing the deeper aspects of your yoga practice, we highly recommend that you participate in one of our Multi-Style Yoga Retreats or Teacher Trainings.

Our teachers have decades of experience and a wealth of knowledge about the spiritual philosophy behind the poses.

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1 sources
  1. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13098-015-0034-3
Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga. She is known around the world for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was also 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. Meera is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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