Fitness Magazine

Featured Pose: Happy Baby (Anadana Balasana)

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Baxter with Nina
Featured Pose: Happy Baby (Anadana Balasana)This grounding pose is an excellent hip opener, as it deeply folds your hip joints, improves the rotation of your thighbones in the joints, and stretches the inner thigh muscles, which can increase your range of motion in these directions. And even though your knees are bent, many of you will also feel some stretch in your hamstrings. Happy Baby pose is a good preparation for poses that also include similar hip movements, such as Extended Side Angle pose, Sage’s Twist 3 (Marichyasana 3), Lunge pose, Cobbler’s pose (Baddha Konasana), Seated Wide Angle Pose (Upavista Konasana), and Garland Pose (Malasana). 
Baxter prescribes this pose for: 
  • Improving hip flexibility
  • General stiffness in the legs and tightness in hamstrings (backs of thighs)
  • Preparation for yoga poses that include squatting movements or external rotation of the thighs in the hip joints (squatting poses, Lotus and Half Lotus, deep lunges, etc.)
  • As a counter-pose for backbends
Timing: Hold this pose for 1-2 minutes. 
Cautions: Those with arthritis of the hips, labral tears in the hip joints, or lower back issues should be cautious with this pose and should start with version 2. If overall stiffness causes your head to arch back or lift off the floor, use support under your head, such as a folded blanket or block. 
1. Classic Version
 
Start in Constructive Rest pose. 
Featured Pose: Happy Baby (Anadana Balasana)From there, tip both knees in toward your chest, allow them to separate and bring them down and out towards your armpits. 
Featured Pose: Happy Baby (Anadana Balasana)With both knees still bent, reach your hands up inside your thighs, across the front of your lower legs (shins), and up to take hold of the outer edges of the your feet. Point your lower legs towards the ceiling while encouraging your thighs to release towards parallel with the floor. Your buttocks may lift off the floor a bit, but make sure your lower back is not jamming into the floor. 
Featured Pose: Happy Baby (Anadana Balasana)When you are in the pose, notice where you are feeling stretch sensation, and encouraging the muscles around the hips to soften and relax as you also bring some attention to the easy flow of your breath.
To come out of the pose, release your feet and bring them to the floor. Then stretch your legs out straight along the floor to relax them. Before coming up to sitting, bend your knees again. 
2. Hands behind Knees
Featured Pose: Happy Baby (Anadana Balasana)This version is an alternative for those who are stiff or tight in their hips or lower back and are therefore unable to hold their feet in the classic pose. If having your head on the floor in this pose is uncomfortable, support it with blanket.
To come into the pose, follow the steps for the classic version but instead of reaching up for your feet, bring your hands around the outsides of your knees and hook your hands around the backs of them. Encourage your knees to release down and out towards your armpits as you point your lower legs straight up toward the ceiling, with flexed feet. 
When you are in the pose, notice where you are feeling stretch sensations, and encourage the muscles around your hips to soften and relax as you also bring some attention to the easy flow of your breath. 
To come out of the pose, release your knees and bring your feet to the floor. Then stretch your legs out straight along the floor to relax them them. Before coming up to sitting, bend your knees again.
3. Hands Holding Ankles
Featured Pose: Happy Baby (Anadana Balasana)This version is an alternative for those whose stiffness and tightness in the hips or lower back prevents them reaching their feet in the classic pose, but for whom version 2 is too easy. If having your head on the floor in this pose is uncomfortable, support it with blanket.
To come into the pose, follow the steps for the classic version but trying to hold your feet, reach up inside your lower legs and hold onto the fronts of your ankles. Encourage your knees to release down and out towards your armpits as you point your lower legs your straight up toward the ceiling, with flexed feet. 
When you are in the pose, notice where you are feeling stretch sensations, and encourage the muscles around your hips to soften and relax as you also bring some attention to the easy flow of your breath.
To come out of the pose, release your ankles and bring your feet to the floor. Then stretch your legs out straight along the floor to relax them. Before coming up to sitting, bend your knees again.
4. Advanced Classic 
Featured Pose: Happy Baby (Anadana Balasana)This version is an option for flexible people who want more stretch that the classic version provides.
To come into the pose, follow the steps for the classic version except as you reach up the insides of your thighs, reach around the backs of your lower legs (calves) instead of across the fronts, and from there up to the outsides edge of your feet. Encourage your knees to release down and out towards your armpits as you point your lower legs your straight up toward the ceiling, with flexed feet. 
When you are in the pose, notice where you are feeling stretch sensations, and encourage the muscles around your hips to soften and relax as you also bring some attention to the easy flow of your breath.
To come out of the pose, release your feet and bring them to the floor. Then stretch your legs out straight along the floor to relax them. Before coming up to sitting, bend your knees again. 
Subscribe to Yoga for Healthy Aging by Email ° Follow Yoga for Healthy Aging on Facebook ° Join this site with Google Friend Connect

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :