Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras and representative Asanas with the fifth and last of the Niyamas – Ishvara Pranidhana or Surrender.
Since we are in the middle of an April Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Balasana (bah-LA-sa-nuh) or Child’s Pose is my choice to represent Ishvara Pranidhana. I feel this pose, folding over from kneeing, represents the surrender. There are two versions of this pose that I enjoy practicing, and we will cover both variations.
Bonus Daily Asana Challenge
We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for April! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Ishvara Pranidhana Day today, I recommend a gentle Yin or Restorative class.
I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing a Forward Folds class that I feel embodies Ishvara Pranidhana
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try Child’s Pose for Ishvara Pranidhana Day! Many Yoga Studios where I practiced in the past use only Wide Child’s Pose below. I prefer to use both versions of this pose in my practice. I start with regular Child’s Pose for about 30 seconds with palms up, then expand to Wide Child’s Pose for 30-45 seconds, then close legs and return to Child’s Pose again for 30 seconds before moving on.
If you would prefer an off-the-mat practice for Ishvara Pranidhana Day – try practicing acceptance in a difficult situation!
Balasana – Child’s Pose
Start in a kneeling position, sitting on your feet with your knees about hip distance apart. Fold forward from your hips, resting your chest on your thighs. You can rest your chin or forehead on the mat. Bring your arms back behind you and rest your hands on the mat, and let your shoulders melt over your knees. Palms can face up for more of a stretch between your shoulders, or palms can face down for more of a lower back stretch.
Balasana – Wide Child’s Pose
Start in Child’s Pose above. Bring your toes together, spread your thighs, and lay your chest between your legs on the mat. Bring your hands forward on the mat in front of you – your palms should always be down on the mat in Wide Child’s Pose.
Take deep breaths into your belly (perhaps try Vilona Pranayama) and hold each pose for at least 3-5 full breaths. I start with regular Child’s Pose for about 30 seconds with palms up, then expand to Wide Child’s Pose for 30-45 seconds, and bring legs together and arms back to return to Child’s Pose again with palms down for 30 seconds before moving on. You can also use a couch pillow or block under your head or chest for extra support.
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Please comment to share your experience! Have you tried both variations of Child’s Pose before? Can you feel a difference in the stretch flipping your palms in the first version of Balasana? Always remember, be kind!