Balasana is a beautiful posture for calming and centring the mind and body, it relaxes us deeply and relieves stress. It stretches the hips, thighs, ankles, and releases the spine and shoulders.
Instructions: Kneel in Vajrasana (Kneeling Pose). Inhale and lengthen the spine. Exhale and engage abdominal muscles then fold forward from the hip joints towards the floor. When your head is almost to the floor tuck your chin in to take forehead to the floor. Allow the buttocks to lower and rest on the heels. Stretch the tailbone down towards the floor. Take the arms to rest beside the body. Allow the breath to soften the body; feel each inhale expand and stretch your upper back and shoulders as your lungs expand. To release the asana, inhale and draw in the abdominal muscles, come to sit on the heels.
Variation – Active Balasana: Extend the arms alongside the head, fingers spread to the floor, engage the body by gentle pressure of the knuckles into the floor. This is good for allowing the energy to keep moving throughout the body in a semi-resting position during a class. It is also good for people who are building up their fitness.
Variation – Balasana with support: Create fists with your hands and stack them one on-top of the other to support the forehead. This is best for people who feel discomfort when the heart is below the head – such as with high/low blood pressure; headaches and pressure behind the eyes. Other supports are placing a cushion or bolster behind the knees to support tightness in legs and hips, and placing a rolled up towel or mat under the ankles to support the ankles and feet.
Variation – Balasana on a chair: If you cannot get to the floor you can do Balasana sitting on a chair. I have created a short video to explain this variation in more detail here:
Contraindications: The head is below the heart, some people with high or low blood pressure, headaches and pressure in the head can use the stacked fist method. People with knee injuries, ankle problems, tight hamstrings, tight back and hip muscles can use props to be able to make this a comfortable resting pose without overextending.