How do I perform the child's pose in yoga?

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Dawn Marcus
Neurology
The child's pose in yoga awakens the connection between your breath and your body. It is also a resting pose that you can use whenever you need it during your yoga practice.

Get on your hands and knees on your mat. Then bring your big toes together and widen your knees to the edges of your mat. Sink your hips back onto your heels and rest your forehead onto the mat. Stretch your arms in front of you. Hold for 5-10 breaths or until you feel ready to begin doing yoga.
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To perform the child's pose, follow these steps:
  1. Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips.
  2. Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs. Broaden your sacrum across the back of your pelvis and narrow your hip points toward the navel, so that they nestle down onto the inner thighs. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis while you lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck.
  3. Lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso, palms up, and release the fronts of your shoulders toward the floor. Feel how the weight of the front shoulders pulls the shoulder blades wide across your back.
  4. Balasana is a resting pose. Stay anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes. Beginners can also use Balasana to get a taste of a deep forward bend, where the torso rests on the thighs. Stay in the pose from 1 to 3 minutes. To come up, first lengthen the front torso, and then with an inhalation lift from the tailbone as it presses down and into the pelvis.
This pose can be done several times a day, as needed, to help calm you down. Kneel on the floor on your hands and knees. Your hands should be under the shoulders and your knees under the hips with toes touching. Stretch your neck forward and lengthen your spine through the tailbone. Gently rock the weight of your body back toward your feet, letting your hips stretch further back as you continue to lengthen and stretch your spine. Stretch your arms forward and walk your fingertips as far forward as they will go on the floor or rug, lengthening your arms fully. Stretch from the shoulders.

As your hips stretch backwards, focus on the stretch from the armpits to the hips, lengthening the sides of the torso and the back. If you are flexible, continue stretching and relax your neck as the forehead touches the floor. Pressing the forehead against the floor or pillows helps to calm the mind as the forehead and eye muscles completely relax. If this is hard, put one or two pillows under your forehead. Rest a few seconds, allowing the forehead and eye muscles to relax. Let the breath soothe you during this pose. This is a great posture to practice as you prepare for sleep, or if you need a calming moment in a stressful day. 
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.