Using child’s pose to disconnect and find calm
I was talking to a friend of mine who was debating whether to try yoga. She said “It just seems so
simple. You know that child’s pose one? My moko does that when he’s having a bad day.”
She and her moko pretty much hit the nail on the head. Child’s pose is a body position that allows
you to physically disconnect from the stressors of the world, quiet your mind and bring your focus
The problem is that as an adult, if I have a bad day at work and suddenly crawl on to the floor in
child’s pose, it might raise some eyebrows. This is where yoga comes in. Yoga is a place where it’s
normal to do child’s pose – in fact I don’t even need the excuse of a bad day.
Practicing the physical asanas or postures of yoga gives us an opportunity to explore movement in
ways that we often don’t get to in daily life. Sometimes that movement is about stretching or
strengthening. Sometimes it’s about exploring the connections between physical movement and
emotional and mental feeling. Sometimes it’s about relaxing and destressing, and sometimes it’s just
To see what I mean, try child’s pose. Start on your hands and knees on the floor. Use your hands to
slowly lower your belly, chest and head down towards the floor. At the same time, let your hips sit
back towards your heels. Your belly might rest on your thighs and your head might reach the floor.
As you let your body settle down, move your arms until your shoulders are comfortable. You could
let your hands slide forward with your arms stretching out in front. You could let your arms be along
the sides of your legs, with your hands sliding back. Or you could let your hands stack under your
head, with your elbows bent and out to the side.
Get comfortable, I mean really comfortable
Depending on your flexibility, old injuries and your usual movement patterns, you might need to
make some adjustments to actually get comfortable. Don’t ignore those slight irritations – they don’t
usually go away. Instead, make a few adjustments.
Here are a few common tips to make it more comfortable:
- Many people point their toes behind them with the top of their feet flat on the floor. But not
everyone’s ankles can do that! You can try tucking your toes under, but if that’s too intense,
then just roll up a towel and slide it under your ankles until your ankles and feet feel
- If you have knee injuries, it might not be comfortable to kneel on the floor. Just put a little
extra padding under your knees. You might also find that bending your knees is too intense.
You can take a rolled towel and place it at the back of your knees. When you sit your hips
back down, the back of your thighs will rest on the towel and your knees won’t bend quite
- If your head doesn’t reach the floor, put a pillow under your head or stack your hands under
your head. Find a position for your head that makes your neck comfortable.
- If your lower back, hips or pelvis find it hard bending forward, try taking your knees wide
apart with your feet coming towards each other. If that doesn’t work, keep your knees wide
but stack a couple of pillows under your belly and chest until it does feel comfortable.
Child’s pose is all about being comfortable, so take a bit of extra time to find a position that you can
truly relax in.
Once you’ve done all the hard work to get just the perfect position, then just be there.
Let your breath slow down. Close your eyes. Relax your belly. Feel as if your body is just sinking or
melting down. Let go of the focus on your body and if you can, let go of any thoughts. Just let the
easy movement of your breathing be the only sensation you notice.
You might stay there for 30 seconds or a few minutes.
To move out of this position, you can use your hands to push yourself back up to your hands and
knees. You might find that stretching out through your spine or even moving in to down dog will feel
good as an opposite movement for your spine from bending forward. Before you charge back into
the day, take a moment to observe how you feel. Do you feel a little bit quieter or calmer?
See other yoga poses that help relieve stress, tension and fatigue or try some of our classes focused on relaxation!