Is there any better sight than a happy baby? We can’t think of too many.
In fact, we dare you to look at a baby laughing and not crack a smile yourself (go ahead….we’ll wait).
We can capture some of that happy baby magic by trying this yoga exercise from Sarah Herrington’s book “Essential Yoga; One Hour Classes You Can Take at Your Own Pace.”
Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
Happy Baby is a highly effective hip stretch. Babies really do take on this pose, and look very happy doing it! See if you can come into this naturally joyful pose with a sense of letting go. As you breathe through the pose, try rocking from side to side.
Flutter through the lips to release the muscles of your face. Feel free to rock from side to side, enjoying the openness of the shape and massaging your back against your mat.
- Lie face-up on the floor. Inhale to prepare. On an exhalation, bend your knees and draw your legs toward your chest. Grasp your knees with both hands. Grasp your knees with your arms.
- Grasp your ankles with both hands. Position your feet so that the soles face the ceiling. Take another inhalation to prepare.
- Exhaling, begin to straighten out your legs, extending them upward. Continue to hold your ankles in your hands. Using your hands, draw your feet apart to open your legs.
- Hold for eight to ten breaths, continuing to gently pull your feet wider apart and down toward the floor with every breath. Feel free to rock from side to side if desired; after all, this pose is meant to be fun! The rocking motion will help to release any tension you may be storing in your hips.
- On an exhalation, release your grip on your ankles and slowly bring your feet back to the floor.
Essential Yoga is perfect for the beginning student who wants to begin practicing yoga—and getting the benefits—immediately. Covering all of the essential skills, poses, and postures, this essential guide breaks down the practice into 24 one-hour lessons that readers can take at their own pace whether they want to do several lessons in a row or one lesson per day, week, or month. Step-by-step photos, captioning, timing instructions, and tip/caution sidebars take the guesswork out of learning and get readers up to speed in no time.
Sarah Herrington is a writer and yoga specialist living in New York City. She has been featured in the Oprah magazine O and the New York Daily News. An expert contributor for wellness site Mindbodygreen (http://www.mindbodygreen.com), Sarah has also written about yoga and mindfulness for NY Yoga magazine and Yoga City NYC. She is a yoga teacher trainer at Yoga to the People.