Happy Baby Makes Me Happy
I don’t know about you, but when I hear “Happy Baby” pose called out in class, it’s hard not to smile. The image of a happy baby in the position of happy baby pose is just funny. And, baby’s actually do this pose, which is even funnier. Not so funny when we see how easy it is for their impossibly-flexible joints and remember how hard it is for our stiff, rickety sheds we call bodies.
Technically, “Ananda Balasana” translates to “Blissful Baby”, which is probably a better name for describing how this pose feels, especially at the end of class.
It’s grounding, the hip opening feels great, we can close our eyes and relax, rock side to side, straighten one or both legs, and just chill.
Too often, I see this pose approached with maximum effort, cranking forward to grab the feet all also cranking the head forward to stay in the pose.
Even for those with experience in H.B. tend to miss a few finer details that make the pose a restorative masterpiece…
Tips for Happy Baby Pose
- First and foremost, the whole back (from just below the neck to the top of the tailbone) should be in contact with the floor. This grounds the pose into the mat, keeping the variability of the pose to a minimum. With a grounded back, there’s no rocking forward and back and, therefore, no excess pressure on the hip joint.
- If you can’t hold your feet without your shoulders hovering off the mat, take hold of the outside of your thighs, your shins, or your ankles. There’s no prize for grabbing your feet or for anything you do in a yoga class.
- If you can grab your feet, feel free to grab the outside, inside of your feet, or even your big toes. Find what works best for you and enjoy it.
- As you start to feel comfortable in the pose, explore straightening one leg at a time or both legs simultaneously. The stretch will extend down your hamstring from your inner thigh and hip. It feels pretty nice.
- Feel free to gently pull down on whatever your grabbing, as long as your whole back (see above) stays completely planted into the mat.
- Breathe deeply into your back, letting the pose rise and fall while the hip stretch evolves breath by breath.
- And, finally, rock side to side. There’s no shame in treating yourself like the little baby you are (in that moment) and used to be.