Balasana - Child's Pose
If you practice yoga regularly, you know that some days it’s just about showing up to the mat and being open to what you find there. There are mornings where I roll out my mat, lower myself to the ground and unconsciously move straight into Child’s Pose (Balasana in Sanskrit). I lengthen my arms out in front of me and take a few deep inhales and exhales, feeling deeply relieved to be there. In general, the pose is a gentle lower back and hip opener, good for the digestion and for the mind. For me, it’s the pose where I can instantly drop in; my heart is protected, my thoughts are stilled, and my back body gently expands and softens with each breath. I could stay there for hours.
I was once at a weekend yoga retreat where the teacher told us that we should avoid going into Balasana if the class got tough; he’d rather that we drop to our knees and just take a few breaths sitting upright because for him, the pose was one of weakness, of giving up or giving in. To this day, I regret not speaking up and telling him differently. Yes, it’s a pose of being, not doing, but for me, Balasana can be very brave because it’s a pose where you must be comfortable with totally surrendering, with going inward and being attentive to what you find there. It’s not giving up; it’s the journey back to the core of who you are, without all the costumes you might wear in your daily life. And only the bravest of us can journey to that place of silence and stillness and courageously face what we find.
The last few months have been exhausting and enlightening in so many ways. For so many of us, the time in confinement has stripped away the unnecessary distractions of life and left us to face ourselves. My day-to-day life has been similar to many people’s - laundry, meals, cleaning, home-schooling, more cleaning, some teaching, toddler entertaining, dog walking, yet more cleaning, more meals. The only way I have been able to get through it is my yoga practice. And there have been many mornings where Child’s Pose is where I start my day and definitely where I end it. And each time, I am reassured by the feeling of breath in my body, calmed by the feeling of my forehead on the earth and soothed by the voice inside that whispers, you’re okay, Alicia. You are stronger than you think and you can do this. Just keep breathing.
Give it a try. Even if you don’t have time to do a full practice, take a few minutes to rest in Child’s Pose and be open to what you find there.