Child’s Pose (Dartihasana)

We begin this month with an asana that replicates how we all began, in a fetal position – curled into oneself. This is a simple asana if we still have the flexibility of a child, but if not, a wonderful pose to begin to surrender into that flexibility. You will see a picture of the asana opposite with my arms outstretched, this is to encourage the shoulder opening that is possible here and also prepares you to enter into the more challenging asana “Downward Dog”. With the top of your feet lying flat on the ground, sit back toward your heels, arms outstretched, and release.

You may also use this asana to completely relax. Use props such as a pillow under your belly and between your legs and a bolster or blocks under your head if it doesn’t quite reach the floor yet. In addition if your ankles are stiff place a small towel under them. In this case you will want to passively rest your arms by your side and totally LET GO. Really allow yourself to rest here and notice with each successive breath that you slip into yourself gently and ever so peacefully. As a preparation for Downward facing Dog we will now highlight the actions you will be looking for in this more active an yet non-weight bearing child’s asana. Begin in a hands and knee position and then slowly lower back onto your haunches, thus lowering the thighs tightly down against the calf muscles, and then flexing the torso against the thighs, resting your forehead against the floor in front of your knees. Outstretch you arms directly in front of your shoulders and activate the hands by pressing and firmly making contact with each knuckle in the floor – feel this “activate” all the way up the arm and accentuate the feeling of the shoulder flesh rolling outward, away from the ears. Imagine a gentle pressure outward at you inner elbow to give you the feeling of using your serratus muscles below your shoulder blades to enhance the rolling out feeling of the upper arms. Look to the pointers on the picture for further detail. Remember to breathe and enjoy.