the child : balasana

(breathing in the universe in balasana)

photo by kolya mallof

Sitting on the back porch smelling the garden grow, I feel a little breeze and warm sun, hear erratic chirpings of birds and squirrels. What if I erase my mental to-do list and just sit enjoying this moment? Even the idea brings a deep sigh of relief. As I exhale, my back expands and my head begins to orbit in slow rotations, releasing a tension I didn’t know was there.

Space opens up. Wind blows, agreeing this is a good thing. Sun warms and I absorb light after a long rainy season.

I feel a little smile on my face.

When I walked past the playground today, children were laughing, running, skipping, jumping. Knowing how to play. Where is that child’s knowing? The wonder at the stars, the wonder at the world whirling through space? To get in touch with it, I fold into the Child’s pose and let the sun work its magic. Belly against thighs, neck tension melting away, a bright space opens inside the darkness. I breathe without weight, without needs. Softening. Like a child hiding, I make the world disappear. It’s gone. I am alone in the universe, resting.

In this nestled place I become large with every inhalation and small as I exhale. A rhythm rocks me and I connect with the pulse of nature all around me. Breathing the light, the dark, the day, the night, the tides, the seasons, birth and death. The air caresses me on the outside and flows in as if breathing me. The sky caring, reaches down and touches us all – me and the trees, the animals and all other people. Together we share this subtle flow. We are exhaled on a cosmic breath, inhaled and absorbed.

What does it take to move naturally with the ebb and flow of breath, to be moved by the waves of life? To be simple like a child means to be free of ego, open to exploration.

Uncurling, staying with the freedom, I rise up refreshed, knowing that only I can give myself this gift. I remember Swami Radha’s words: “Between two breaths, realize. Between two breaths, realize!” Just that little space, just that little pause can open us to what cannot be said in words.

What if I let go what I think I know and instead open to wonder? The Child’s pose invites beginner’s mind, looking with new eyes.

I feel a little smile on my face as I go off to play in the mystery.

how to do balasana : the child’s pose

  1. The Child’s pose is often a pose of rest after stretching the back in asanas like the Downward Dog or back bends like the Cobra. Its power lies in its simplicity. Breathe with your whole body, like a sleeping baby. Come up renewed.
  2. There are two options for entering the Child’s pose:

option 1 From a kneeling position, fold forward, allowing your back to soften and relax. Your arms can be along your sides or stretched to the front. Focus on relaxing with your breath.

option 2 From a kneeling position, bring your big toes together and knees apart, stretch your torso forward, with the hands and arms stretched out front. Focus on relaxing with your breath as you extend the spine.


  1. What does it mean to be a child? What qualities does a child have that are helpful to you? Write your associations for “child” and bring one of your words into the pose with you.
  2. In many religions the Divine is imagined as a child. Think of the mischievous Gopala, the butter thief; Baby Jesus and his miraculous birth in a stable; Sita, the goddess who is discovered as a baby hidden in the earth when King Janaka plows the field. As you practise the Child’s pose, reflect on the Divine in yourself as a precious child.
  3. In the Child’s pose, we are curled up with no view of the outer world. What inner worlds do you create with your imagination? Can you bring Light to your inner world? Can you imagine this world and then manifest it? What kind of person do you want to grow into?
    Swami Lalitananda's latest book,The Inner Life of Asanas,is a collection of her hidden language hatha yoga columns, from timeless books . She is a resident teacher and part of the collective at radha yoga & eatery - a yoga centre, cafe, arts and events venue at 728 Main Street in Vancouver, BC. Contact her at .

       read more of swami lalitananda's past columns

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