As my infant daughter giggled away while lying flat on her back, she swung her feet up in the air and grabbed the outside edges of her feet as her knees bent in toward her shoulders. I finally understood why Happy Baby was so aptly named.
Sure, babies are fascinated by their feet and quite flexible, so they’d most certainly do it, but what dawned on me was the sheer amount of joy and carefree energy exuding from her little four-month-old body.
Known as Ananda Balasana in Sanskrit (and by Dead Bug Pose to some people), the pose embodies its name -- like a young baby with nothing to worry about in the world. It’s no wonder Happy Baby Pose makes its way into many a yoga sequence!
Here are just some of the many holistic benefits of Happy Baby Pose:
Physically, this posture is a major hip opener. It stretches the inner thighs and groin as well as the back of the legs, or the hamstrings. It releases the spine and sacrum, and is particularly beneficial in releasing, or decompressing, the SI (sacroiliac) joint.
It is an accessible posture for new yogis (with the help of your trusty yoga strap!) to work on building strength in the hips, legs, thighs, and arms, while opening up and building flexibility in the hips. Internally, it can also massage the stomach organs and stimulate the digestive system.
Spiritually, Ananda Balasana is said to stimulate the bladder and kidney meridians. It also opens the liver meridians due to the stretch of the inner thighs. It opens and balances the sacral chakra, Svadisthana.
Svadisthana is home to your sense of belonging. The sacral chakra is the center of sensuality, pleasure, passion, intimacy and sexuality. It is our relationship center -- from friends to family to romantic relationships. When your Svadisthana is balanced and open, you feel accepted (by yourself and those around you) and know exactly where you belong. You open yourself up to the world and what life has to offer you with a quiet confidence that comes from a secure, grounded intuition.
You’ve probably heard your teacher say that stress, or emotions, are stored deep in the tissues of your hips. Happy Baby can help open your hips, which are linked directly to your sacral chakra, and release deeply stored emotions and memories. So if you’re feeling a little dependent, emotionally imbalanced, overly sexual (or too driven by sexual desire), or closed off to the world, practicing Happy Baby (and other Yin hip openers) can help get your sacral chakra back in check.
Mentally, Happy Baby Pose awakens your inner child and is an instant mood booster! It melts away nervous energy, relieves stress, and transforms your busy mind to that of a young, carefree infant. It zaps tension and reinvigorates your mind, body, and soul.
It’s an encouraging posture and easily accessible to many yogis (with or without the help of a strap) that can build confidence and self-love. It’s like you’re giving yourself a big hug and dose of much needed anxiety relief. Since it can be, and often is, held for longer periods of time, it’s a great pose to meditate on a mantra or affirmation.
Happy Baby Pose comes with some amazing benefits for your mind, body, and soul. By connecting with and freeing your inner child, you open yourself to receive the creative, imaginative, and child-like energy that flows through your being. You leave your busy, discerning, and knowing adult perspective aside for a few moments of innocent, pure, and unknowing fascination with the world around you.
Tell us why you love Happy Baby Pose in the comments below!