The Happy Baby Pose, or Ananda Balasana, invokes images of a happy baby lying on their back with their toes in their hands. This pose is an excellent way to release stress and fatigue while gently stretching the inner groin and the lower back. It is highly effective for relaxing the busy mind and creating a sense of calm.
If you cannot reach your feet, hold a strap draped across the balls of the feet and ensure your ankles stay directly over your knees. Use the exhale to gently persuade the knees closer to the armpits. If you’re feeling energetic, it can look like a happy baby. If you’re feeling sluggish, it may be more like a dead bug, but either way, this pose is beneficial to the entire lower body.
This pose is used at the start of a sequence – as a warm up – or at the end of a sequence, usually in the stretching portion of the vinyasa flow:
- Come to lie on the mat on your back.
- Bend the knees into the chest and reach the hands to the outer edges of each foot.
- Open the knees and bring them toward the armpits.
- Stack the ankles over the knees so the shins are perpendicular (or as close as possible) to the floor.
- Keep the feet flexed and gently encourage the knees to come closer to the armpits.
Releasing from the pose is done by releasing the hands from the feet and straightening the legs, lowering them to the floor.
Benefits of English – Sanskrit Pose
The benefits of this pose include:
- Opens the hips, inner thighs, and groin
- Releases the lower back and sacrum
- Stretches the hamstrings and calves
- Calms the brain and releases stress
- Stretches and soothes the spine
Ananda Balasana works to lengthen the back and neck, giving a nice release to the lower back and increasing a sense of vitality. It’s a nice morning stretch and a great way to warm up to other workouts.