Reclined Child’s Pose: A gentle move to help your spine
Last Friday I took an arm balancing workshop taught by one of my teachers, Samantha Lloyd. The workshop was on Side Crow, or Parsva Bakasana; seeing as I’ve always wanted to be a bird I couldn’t not take the workshop. Not really, but I love the challenge of balancing poses. The funny thing about arm balance poses is many of us think they are out of reach for us, no pun intended. The wrist flexibility, the core work, the possibility that we’ll crash land and need to dish out a very sizeable amount of money for a good plastic plastic surgeon not located in Mexico to fix the damage caused by said crash. The struggle is real, as the kids say.
We’re missing the point though. As often happens we look at the final pose and think, “No. Way.”, but we forget about all the steps needed to get us to liftoff. We can practice the fundamentals of all arm balance poses, Side Crow included, without even getting off the floor. Bonus: our core will be stronger and your spine will be happier for it.
Here’s a mini sequence of 4 steps to doing Reclined Child’s Pose, or Supta Balasana
For steps 1-3, the challenge is to keep the lower back and tailbone on the floor. Hold your legs in a way that lets you keep your spine neutral and long. This pose will help you build better flexibility at the hips, get rid of back pain, increase the flexibility of your back muscles and the strength of your chest and abdominals, and improve the overall health of your spine.
Prop tips: If you can’t reach your ankles, shins, or knees in steps 1-3 without lifting your tailbone or lower back off the floor use a strap around the legs. (Not shown.) Extra padding in the way of a thinly folded blanket or folded mat can help in step 4 for those of us with a spiny back. You know, like a dinosaur.
Options: Keep the legs together at the ankles and knees by gently squeezing the legs together. If you can’t keep the spine on the floor, or to vary it up, take your knees wide and your big toes together. In this case, aim to pull your knees in towards your armpits.
Caution: If you have arthritis or an otherwise injured spine, avoid step 4 and stick to steps 1-3 with a neutral spine.
Step 1: Hold Ankles
Step 2: Hold Shins
Step 3: Hold Knees
Step 4: Full Pose
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