Every class I teach I always try & educate my students as best I can. I hope each class you walk away with another entry into your own personal textbook of Yoga and a deposit into your own memory-bank of clarity.
Sometimes it is hard to be able to explain the full benefits of every pose, there is always so much more happening than a simple physical position for the body. Yoga is a Science, the oldest Science of the human body & this week we are going to look at a foundational pose. A pose many of us take for granted, or slip into with very little thought or understanding of the signals which we automatically start to send our body...
Child's Pose or Balasana requires surrender to gravity & a state of non-doing. For many of us, this asana possesses a deep physical & psychological memory of our time as infants.
The shape of the pose is useful for many reasons, but in particular, it forces you to confront your attitudes & patterns of breathing, the health of your organs, & your level of awareness in moving from the abdomen.
In Balasana, the shape of the pose forces the front of the rib cage to compress & causes an internal resistance to full, frontal breathing, which is the adopted pattern for most of us. In this resistance you will confront—possibly for the first time—the notion of breathing somewhere other than the front of your lungs, or in such a way as to avoid distending your belly as you inhale.
As the frontal ribs are compressed, the unyielding presence of the internal organs & the compression of the abdomen trapped against the thighs limit the diaphragm. This further precludes soft, even breathing
The release of the organs draws your energy down into the pelvic floor, which in effect rebounds up & triggers subtle movement in the spine. With practice, you will notice more space in the abdomen as the organs become toned & supple. The pattern of breathing into your back will become familiar, & your spine will elongate freely as your breath works slowly to expand & release the tension in your ribs.
So next time you soften into Child's Pose, remember there is a complex sequence happening deep inside your body, a pathway which will entice the healing to start. There is an opportunity for you to have a conversation with your nervous system - soothing, calming, restoring your natural ebb. There is an opportunity to re-wire your breathing pattern, an opportunity to create change.
N I R M A L A ~ BA, Yoga Teacher, Student of Naturopathy & Herbal Medicine