Child's Pose. Oooh there is sooo much to say about this one, but I will try to keep it simple.
Just as a side note, if given the freedom to move about as they please, many women in labor will naturally revert to variations of this pose during contractions. This position has also proven to be extremely relieving for menstural cramps, especially if someone simultaneously presses (or for the bold - sits!) down on your lower back.
In Yoga classes, Child's Pose is the carrot at the end of the stick. Students love this pose, and a good Yoga teacher knows just when and how to dangle it. I often start my classes with it, as I think that it is a great way to transition from the "outside" to turning inwards, and slowing down the breath etc....
So enough background, lets get straight into it.
There are many variations on how to do and get into this pose - the following is just my personal preference:
- Start off in "table-top" position. That means getting on all-fours, with your arms straight and your fingers facing forward. Your toes should be pointing downwards (i.e. your toenails should be touching the floor/mat)
- To begin, check that your torso is parallel to the floor, that your knees are on the floor, directly underneath your hips and that your hands are directly underneath your shoulders.
- Open your knees wide apart (as wide as the width of your mat if you are using one) and bring your big toes together.
- Deepen the bend in your knees and press the back of your thighs down and back until your tailbone rests on your ankles and your torso and chest rests between your knees.
- Take a deep breath in and out of the nose. On the exhale, sink deeper into the backs of your ankles and feel your sacrum (that is the very lowest point on the spine) broadening accross the back of your pelvis.
- Rest your forhead on the floor/mat and extend your arms out in front of you. Allow your breath to get deeper and slower, and become conscious of how your stomach rises and falls pressing against the inner thighs as you breathe.
- Think happy, warm, rejuvenating thoughts and stay there for as long as you like!