Occassionally, it can be the simplest of yoga poses that can cause the most strain and tension. It’s the ones we do regularly that can often be the ones that we pay such little attention to we don’t realize the impact we’re having on our body. In this post, we’ll discuss Happy baby pose, how to do it, modifications, variations and contraindications.
Happy baby is an asana where we should be striving for less effort and more relaxation. However, in this never ending quest to do the pose “right”, we can often end up efforting and straining. Consequently, creating more of an unhappy baby.
The video has all the variations of the pose in this post. You can view the video on YouTube. Maybe add it to a playlist? Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel. I upload new videos every Tuesday and Friday. For exclusive longer format videos sign up for my Patreon community.
Who shouldn’t do happy baby
First, let’s address who shouldn’t do this pose. Most important, the ones who should not be doing this pose are women who are in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. There are lots of pose modifications for pregnancy, but any pose laying on your back after the first trimester should be avoided.
Similarly, those with disc issues should use caution. While happy baby pose does provide a stretch for the muscles along the back body, for those with disc problems this is NOT necessarily what it is recommended. Why? Because, many disc issues are caused by flexion of the spine. Therefore, more flexion should be avoided.
How to do happy baby pose
So, it you aren’t pregnant and have no disc issues let’s begin lying on the floor. Draw the knees towards the chest. Notice, how does that feel? If that feels good, then separate the knees drawing them outwards. The hands can rest on the knees, shins or on the back of the thighs. Keeping the back body connected to the floor, can you lift the feet up.
After that, think about the hand position. Can you keep the head and pelvis down, but reach the hands to the feet? Likewise, perhaps the peace fingers come around the big toes drawing the legs down to the torso.
Happy Baby modifications & variations
As much as we want to fully express a pose, the body cannot lie. For example, in our desire to hold the feet with the hands the head may lift away from the floor. On the other hand, the head may tilt back.
Neither of these are optimal for our body. As a result, we may experience tension in the head, neck and shoulders. Instead, provide some support, and lift the head onto a blanket or cushion.
Having the head lifted is something that can be caused by excess screen usage. “Forward head syndrome” is something being seen more and more as we spend more time on phones and computers.
Similarly, we may keep the head down but the pelvis may rise. Again, not preferred. Muscling, into happy baby pose means effort. There is no sweet surrender here.
It’s your ego that insists on the hands touching the feet. We can modify this by using a strap around the feet. As a result, the strap becomes an extension of the arms. And, you feel connected to the feet.
Note: I call this variation “strappy baby”. Because, you use the strap. Get it? Sometimes you have to have some fun in yoga!
If you’re like me, and have a deep lumbar arch, you may want to explore a restorative variation of happy baby pose. Due to the increased lumbar flexion, again not for those with disc issues. But, for those without, it’s bliss!
Similar to the having the head supported, this variation instead has the pelvis supported. Most importantly, it’s the tailbone. The lower back falls down towards the floor, creating more curvature in the lower back. If you have tight back muscles, like me, you’ll love this variation.
To sum it up, if your back body, from head to tail, doesn’t stay down on the floor you need support. Happy baby pose needs to be relaxing, and well, happy! Use these tips and tricks, to find more happiness in your happy baby pose.
- Do you enjoy happy baby?
- Have you done any of the variations shown?
- How much screen time do you get each day?