[captionpix width=”200″ align=”right” imgalt=”Balasana” imgsrc=”http://www.janeunsworth.com/wp-content/uploads/iyengar-hatha-yoga-child-pose.jpg” captiontext=”Iyengar’s Pose Of A Child”]
There seem to be different names for the yoga pose Balasana, often known as The Pose Of A Child and an Iyengar Yoga Class I began in 2001 did it somewhat differently.
Their Pose Of A Child was the one where you take your arms to the side and towards the back of you where your hands are somewhere by the sides of your ankles (as shown to the right).
Pose of a child
However when I started practicing the Scaravelli method with some wonderful Heart Of Yoga teachers like James Jewell and Erica Rasmussen, who both taught locally (at the time) I much preferred their version, as it felt far more comfortable.
And this style of yoga seems to resonate more with what the body wants more than it having to try and adhere to something that feels alien.
Below is a picture of the Scaravelli influence and as it happens she was taught yoga by Iyengar himself at the mountain lodge she and her husband occupied during the summer months in the 1940’s, where Iyengar and people like the brilliant violinist Yehudi Menuhin were among their guests.
[captionpix width=”200″ imgalt=”Balasana” imgsrc=”http://www.janeunsworth.com/wp-content/uploads/balasana-pose-of-a-child.jpg” captiontext=”Scaravelli’s Pose Of A Child”]
In Vanda Scaravelli’s book Awakening The Spine you can read her learnings from that experience and how she took his information and adapted it into a kinder system that I feel integrates more with the body.
From experience, although I’m not a teacher, this pose usually follows the more strenuous Down Face Dog and acts as more of a pause, or punctuation and feels wonderful at that juncture.
These two poses are often repeated a few times, depending on the teacher, but they always fall in the same order.
- If you look at the picture above
- You are stretching forwards from the same point as in Tadasana, the lower back to middle
- The upper part is going forwards, culminating in the arms being outstretched on the ground
- The lower part is sitting back on the heels as much as possible
- Neither should compensate for the other
- If one of them has to yield it should be the upper body as the emphasis tips towards being on the heels
- If the imbalance is too great and the bottom is too far from the heels then the arms/hands should rest on a block rather than reach beyond their capability
- Alternatively you can rest your head on a block
- You should feel balance and take your attention into the two-way stretch>
- Explore it and find out what that is telling you
- Be easy with it
Then you’re ready to do another Down Face Dog.
Down face dog
When I carried this out under the instruction of the Iyengar teacher I mentioned above, she would come along to each student who wasn’t able to get their buttocks onto their heels (me included) and sit on your base of the spine (facing away from you) to draw the lower back and buttocks away from the torso.
It provided a good stretch, but in hindsight it might just say more about the western Iyengar approach than it does about my limitations in the pose (and here speaks the voice of injury).
What have your experiences of the Pose of a Child been like?
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