Personally I love childs pose. This is something use very often in the beginning of class, especially in a beginner class, to help give some privacy to those trying belly breathing for the first time. Belly breathing is very awkward at first, and it is completely contrary to how “normal” Americans breathe. In fact it’s pretty much backwards to how people typically breathe, but in Childs pose you can hide your belly so you can let it hang as you become comfortable with moving your body with your breath. For me, it gives me a chance to relax before during and after my practice. If the practice is too intense, then skip a down dog and come to childs instead.
Start kneeling. Keeping your bum down on your heels take your hands to the ground and slowly walk them out to the top of your mat letting your self fold forwards to your comfort level.
You can spread your knees out wide to help practice belly breathing or deepen the forward fold. This will also help get your hips into this pose with a gentle opening.
Or you can keep your knees close together to help practice breathing into your back or sides for a thoracic/intercostal breath. This will also keep your hips out of the stretch and make your forward fold less intense.
Allow yourself to relax, bending the elbows and relaxing your forehead either to the ground or to a block and take a few breaths here to help relax.
To start engaging the body extant the fingertips out front and forward while pulling the armpits back to engage the both arms entirely and down through the back. Then you are ready to allow your body to move.
Forward fold, without the hamstring stretch
Low back stretch to help relieve pain
Gentle hip opening
Lowers heart rate
lowers blood pressure
stretches thighs and ankles
stretch and relive neck pains
If you have low blood pressure you may not want to stay in this pose more than 3 minutes
If you have high blood pressure you may want to come out of this slowly
If your knees have trouble holding your weight, or bruise easily
Pregnant women should only go as far as your legs and belly will allow you to fold, and knees wide may be more comfortable.
Don't try this if you are experiencing diarrhea
If you have trouble sitting all the way back on your heels try sticking a block between your feet and sitting back on the block.
If you do not feel comfortable with the tops of your feet pressed to the ground, come up on your toes to help reduce the plantar flexion involved.
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