Friday, November 1, 2013

Fitness Friday - Child's Pose

Today is the official start of the holiday season for me, we have been looking at holiday collections for the past month but I just can't accept the holidays until Halloween is over.  Today starts both the holiday and finals stress and I will be turning to the gym and yoga as much as possible this holiday season.  I have six weeks until finals and eight weeks until the peak of the holiday season so I will be adding as many yoga sessions a week as possible.

Today I wanted to get back to the basics of yoga, we are looking at one of the most effective rest poses today and one that can be adapted to everyday life during stressful times.  Child's Pose is gone often during any yoga practice to bring the heart rate down after harder flows or working into peak positions.  I have also taken to holding this pose for a minute before going to bed to help relax and de-stress after my day.  Whether or not you practice or have any interest in a yoga practice, this pose with help you relax and de-stress as needed throughout the season.

Yoga Journal provides the details on how to maximize this pose...

- Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips.
- Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs. Broaden your sacrum across the back of your pelvis and narrow your hip points toward the navel, so that they nestle down onto the inner thighs. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis while you lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck.
- Lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso, palms up, and release the fronts of your shoulders toward the floor. Feel how the weight of the front shoulders pulls the shoulder blades wide across your back.
- Balasana is a resting pose. Stay anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes. Beginners can also use Balasana to get a taste of a deep forward bend, where the torso rests on the thighs. Stay in the pose from 1 to 3 minutes. To come up, first lengthen the front torso, and then with an inhalation lift from the tailbone as it presses down and into the pelvis.

The arm position is really up to you in this position.  During a yoga practice, I like to place my arms out in front of me with my palms touching the floor.  I will use this position to push myself back up for the next flow and use it as a quick rest.  When I am using this pose to relax at night, I will place my arms along side my body with my palms up.  This allow me to relax faster and stay in the position longer instead of using it as a quick resting position. 

Relaxing in this pose allows me to breath deeply and relax most of the muscles in my body.  I will continue to use this position each night to help get rid of the day's stresses...

photo courtesy of Yoga Journal

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