One of the quintessential yoga postures, child's pose, is often taught in most modern yoga classes. Child's pose is translated from the Sanskrit word Balasana — "bala" means "childish" and "asana" means "pose."

And while that's the literal meaning, the spiritual meaning of this yoga pose has to do with the fact that children need nurturing and a safe place to rest their head.

Read on to learn more about how to do child's pose and its many benefits and variations.

  • What is child's pose?‌ Technically, child's pose is classified as a basic kneeling forward fold, meaning you begin on your knees and sit the hips back onto the heels, with the goal of folding forward to rest your head on a yoga mat, folded blanket or yoga block. Variations on child's pose depend on range of motion. Both the name and shape evoke the feeling and sensation of curling up into the fetal position, as if you are turning inward to this safe place of comfort and ease. This is a great visual to keep in mind to really help you embody the nurturing quality of this restorative pose and absorb all of its benefits.
  • What is child's pose good for?‌ Aside from the many physical benefits, it's an inherently introspective posture that can support you in feeling grounded, safe and more connected to your body and mind. If you've ever felt carried away by the frenzy of a chaotic day and needed a quick, easy way to collect your thoughts and hit reset, child's pose can help provide that immediate sense of relief.
  • Who can do child's pose?‌ It's a wonderful posture for yogis of all skill levels and abilities thanks to its restful characteristics that make it an ideal pose when you need a moment to rest, catch your breath or use as a more gentle alternative to downward facing dog while transitioning between other poses.
  • How long should you hold child's pose?‌ There's no set amount of time to hold child's pose. However, if you're only practicing child's pose (as opposed to including it in a yoga flow), you can rest in it for five cycles of breath, or about 1 minute. You can also extend it for up to 3 to 5 minutes — or longer if you want.

Child's Pose Benefits

Why does child's pose feel so good? Practicing child's pose is an effective way to potentially relieve lower back, shoulder, neck and head tension, according to the Illinois Pain & Spine Institute, because when you're in the pose, your body is in an extremely supported forward fold position down on the mat.

With this support, your muscles can relax. Additionally, this offers the opportunity to reduce tension in your face and jaw, providing a deeply calming experience for your entire body and nervous system.

Because your upper body is folded forward over bent knees, child's pose also helps to stretch the tops of your ankles and even provides a gentle compression in your abdomen that can help stimulate digestion, as has previously reported.

One of the more poignant elements of this pose is its ability to calm your nervous system by bringing in a body-wide sensation of peace and calm.

"While there are plenty of anatomical benefits to the pose, I most appreciate the more subtle qualities that child's pose offers," Meghan Hunter, RYT-500, a yoga instructor based in Maine, tells "When sequencing a class, I often include this pose to encourage slowing down and more internal focus. It can also be a great shape to feel the broadening of the backside of the rib cage, and as a result, deep, spacious breaths into the lungs."

You can choose to close your eyes or maintain a soft gaze and focus on releasing as much tension as possible. As Hunter recommends, breathe slowly and deeply to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which allows you to self-soothe during times of stress by feeling safe in your body and having clarity of mind.

For the most part, child’s pose is widely accessible for ‌every‌ ‌body‌. However, it's not recommended for those who are pregnant because of the pressure it can put on the abdomen. Because there is also a fair amount of pressure on the lower body, it could potentially cause pain in the hips, knees or ankles. If you do experience any pain or extreme discomfort, exit the pose!

How to Do Child’s Pose

Child's Pose Modifications

1. Child's Pose With Blanket Behind Knees

It's not uncommon to enter child's pose and find your hips don't go all the way down to your heels. If you can't sit on your heels in child's pose, it may be due to tension on your lower back and hips, as well as your lower body in general. To help, place a folded up blanket behind your knees to fill the gap for this modified child's pose.

2. Child's Pose With Yoga Block

While practicing child's pose, you may feel some pressure or discomfort in the neck when the forehead is all the way down on the floor. To reduce the pressure, bring the ground up to you by using a prop!

Child’s Pose Variations

1. Child's Pose With Hands on Feet

Some days, stretching your arms forward in child's pose doesn't feel quite right. If you have shoulder tension or just don't feel comfortable doing so, you can place your hands behind you instead, according to Jessica Fadale, RYT-200, a yoga instructor and owner of Portland Yoga Collective in Portland, Maine.

"I do a lot of rock climbing, so sometimes child's pose can make my shoulders feel cranky," Fadale tells "To modify, I love to reach my arms behind me. This helps to relieve pinching or strain in the shoulders. For some extra self-love, I will grab my heels and even give myself a quick foot massage."

2. Child's Pose With Hands on Head

This child's pose variation isn't necessarily harder or easier than the others, it's just different. However, it will gently stretch the front of your chest more than the traditional form of child's pose, so you can decide what feels best for your body.

2023-03-19T15:26:56Z dg43tfdfdgfd