Happy Baby Pose or Ananda Balasana is an excellent grounding pose wherein Ananda means happy and Bala means a baby. Interestingly, it is also called the Dead Bug Pose, because of the position that the body takes up while performing this pose. It’s other names include Joyful baby pose and the Stirrup pose.
The Happy Baby pose mainly stretches and opens up the chest, hips and the groins. This pose lengthens and realigns the spine and strengthens the arms and shoulders. It also compresses the abdominal organs and stretches the calf muscles.
Performing this pose regularly can help calm the mind, relieve stress and fatigue. It also helps increase vitality and relieve neck stiffness. Regular practice of this pose is effective in bringing down the heart rate resulting in a relaxed mind and body.
Getting into the Pose
What you need: Room with fresh air (if you’re doing it inside, otherwise do it in open area), and you.
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Initial Position: Supine
Drishti or Gaze: Forward
- Start by lying flat on the ground. As you inhale, lift up your legs, bend both your knees and bring them close to the chest.
- Stretch apart your legs, opening your knees and draw them further towards the armpits.
- Get each ankle in line with your knee and keep both your shins perpendicular to the floor.
- Flex up your feet and grab the outer edges of the feet and draw the knees towards the floor.
- Relax your head and shoulders down to the ground.
- Hold the pose for 15-30 seconds. Release, relax and repeat.
Follow this pose with Baby pose to further relax your back and hips.
- Variation I – for additional hip opening: Instead of holding your feet on the outer edges, hold them on the inside.
- Variation II – for deeper stretching: Hold your ankles as you draw your knees towards your chest.
- Iyengar variation – with a belt as prop: Take a yoga strap or a small scraf, loop it around the middle arch of the foot and then perform the pose.
If as a beginner, you find it difficult to hold your feet with your hands, then you can make the use of a Yoga strap and begin with the Iyengar variation.
- This pose is not advisable for pregnant women.
- Avoid performing this pose if you have a knee injury or a neck injury.
Last Update: Aug 8th, 2014
Next Update: Oct 8th, 2014