child's pose

Balasana, or Child’s Pose, is one of the most-loved yoga postures for the simple reason that it feels so good. The fact that it’s often taken after a difficult pose may even increase its appeal. Balasana is like a refuge. A breath of fresh air. A release. It’s where we can let go of all the stress and just be. Perhaps that’s why it’s called Child Pose after all. The innocence of childhood is graced with a feeling of ease.

In fact, many say that children are closer to divinity because they have not yet forgotten where they come from. The myth of Balasana touches on this very idea. Krishna, who is Vishnu incarnate (Vishnu being the god of preservation, one of three main Hindu gods), during childhood displayed the behavior of a child who did not know his own divinity, a playful forgetfulness known as lila. Not to be confused with maya, or the illusion that tells us our mortal experiences are real, lila is experienced when one is fully grounded in his or her own divinity, but can then forget it in a way that brings about lightness.

According to Alanna Kaivalya, author of Myths of the Asanas, “This is one of the paradoxes of yoga philosophy: First we need to remember our divine nature, and when we are established in it we need to forget it again in order to stay engaged in the world.” In other words, we must be in the world, but not of the world. Child’s Pose represents this balance.

We can use children as our teachers. Witness the full attention a child gives to each moment. They are not burdened by their past or worried about the future. They live in the moment, just as yoga teaches us adults to do. Taking the time to find our own childlike—yet godlike—nature is a worthwhile endeavor. “Balasana invites us to cultivate this childlike quality,” says Kaivalya. Keep this in mind next time you come into Child’s Pose.