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Benefits of Ananda Balasana and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

By Dr. Himani Bisht +2 more

Introduction: 

“Yoga is not about the shape of your body but the shape of your life”. It is an age-old practice known to harmonize the mind, body and spirit to attain inner liberation and peace. Traditional yoga practices include the adoption of body postures (yoga asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayamas). There are many different forms of traditional yoga-like kundalini, bhakti, tantra, jnana, karma, raja yoga, etc. Yoga is a vehicle that helps transform an individual by promoting a conscious connection with oneself, the outer world and the supreme Almighty.  In this blog, we will discuss the health benefits of one such asana, ananda balasana.1  

What is Ananda Balasana? 

Ananda balasana is a reclining body posture, which is done by lying on your back and catching hold of your feet with your hands, the feet are bent at the knee and are in L-shape. The name of this asana is derived from the Sanskrit words “ananda”, which means happy, “bala”, which means child and “asana”, which means yoga pose. This translates to happy child poses in English. This asana is also practised in Pilates (a form of exercise that focuses on balance, flexibility and body posture).2 

ananda balasana

How to do it? 

Ananda balasana must be done correctly for maximum health benefits. Let us now learn how to perform ananda balasana:  

  • First, lie on your back with your legs stretched straight in front.   
  • Place both arms by your side with the palms facing up. 
  • Next, take a deep breath (inhale) and raise your right leg in the air and try to catch the toe with your right hand. 
  • This pose is called supta padangusthasana. Take a deep breath and proceed with the next step. 
  • Resting in this position, bring both knees near your chest. With the knees bent, raise both lower legs towards the ceiling. 
  • Next, try to hold the right foot from the inner side with the right hand and the left foot from the inner side with the left hand. Both hands will be at a ninety-degree angle while holding the feet. (Refer to the picture shown above for a clear understanding) 
  • Hold this position for as long as comfortable and breathe normally.  
  • Return to the original position and relax.2, 3 

Note- it is best to practice any asana on an empty stomach or a minimum of four hours have elapsed since you had a meal, whichever is sooner. The best time to practice ananda balasana is early morning, as the body is active and fresh. 

Based on my knowledge, I would like to advise you that certain yoga poses, such as Ananda Balasana (happy baby pose), which involve high flexion and rotational movements, may potentially cause impingement in the hip joint. It is important to be cautious and mindful when practising this pose.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Do you know? 

  • The practice of ananda balasana may help stimulate the Muladhara chakra (root chakra) and swadhisthana chakra (sacral chakra), which promotes emotional well-being. 
  • This pose is a reflection of babies playing with their feet. This pose personifies the baby which dwells within each one of us, no matter our age. This pose symbolizes the energy, joy and playful nature of babies. 

Benefits of Ananda Balasana:  

Keeping the origin and history in mind, let us now discuss some benefits of ananda balasana, which will make this asana worth trying. Enlisted below are a few health benefits of ananda balasana. 

Benefit of Ananda Balasana on Pelvic Pain 

Literature studies show that the practice of yoga may help in managing pain. Alison et al., in 2017, conducted a study on women which stated that the practice of ardha ananda Balasana, a variation of Balasana may help in managing chronic pelvic pain and improving quality of life. This indicates that the practice of asanas like ananda balasana may positively impact pelvic pain in women. However, it is advised not to consider the practice of ananda balasana as an alternative to modern medicine and consult your doctor for proper treatment of pelvic pain. Additionally, you should practice this asana strictly under the guidance of a qualified trainer.4 

Benefit of Ananda Balasana on Depression  

Depression is a common mental health disorder which is characterized by loss of interest and sadness, which can interfere with your daily life activities. Street et al. conducted a study in 2020 to assess the effect of yoga asanas on depression. The results of this study showed that the practice of Yogasanas like ananda balasana may help in managing depression. Additionally, this asana helped in improving sleep and reducing anxiety. Thus, it can be concluded that the practice of ananda balasana may have the potential to manage depression. However, it is advised to consult your doctor for the proper treatment of depression and not rely on this asana alone. Additionally, the practice of ananda balasana should be strictly done under the supervision of a qualified trainer.5 

Benefit of Ananda Balasana on Hypothyroidism 

Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by the failure of the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone, a hormone required to meet different metabolic demands of the body. Mali et al., in 2017, conducted a study to assess the effect of yoga intervention on the thyroid gland. The results of this study showed that yoga intervention, including asanas like ananda balasana helped in managing hypothyroidism by normalizing thyroid function. Thus, the practice of yoga asanas like ananda balasana may have a positive impact on hypothyroidism, but we need more studies to claim these results. However, you should not consider this asana as an alternative to modern medicine. It is advised to consult your doctor for proper management of hypothyroidism and practice ananda balasana under the supervision of a qualified trainer only.6 

Benefit of Ananda Balasana on Muscular Strength  

Literature studies support the practice of yoga asanas for improving muscular strength. A study conducted by Barbara in 2011 stated that yoga intervention, including asanas like ananda balasana caused an improvement in flexibility, balance and core muscle strength. Thus, it can be concluded that the practice of yoga asanas like ananda balasana may have a positive impact on muscular strength.  However, you should not rely on this asana alone. It is recommended to consult a doctor for proper management of any muscular disorder. Additionally, it is best to practice this asana under the supervision of a qualified trainer.7 

Other benefits of Ananda Balasana: 

  • The practice of this asana improves mindfulness and body awareness.7 
  • Yogasanas like ananda balasana may improve the quality of life.7 
  • Doing this posture may help in reducing blood pressure and heart rate.8 
  • Regular practice of balasana may help improve abdominal problems like gastritis.9 
  • The practice of balasana may help in reducing back pain.9 

Note- A few benefits mentioned above are of balasana, as ananda balasana is a variation of balasana, there is a potential that the benefits of ananda balasana may be similar to that of balasana. To ascertain these claims in humans, more studies are required.  

Although the practice of Yoga may help in the development of the mind and body, however, you should not consider yoga as an alternative to modern medicine. It is advised not to rely on Yoga alone to treat any condition. Kindly consult a qualified doctor for proper treatment. Additionally, any asana practice should be done under the supervision of a qualified trainer. 

Over the years, it has been found that practicing Ananda Balasana (happy baby pose) during pregnancy can be considered safe for both expectant mothers and their babies, as long as it is done with caution. However, it is important to remember that every pregnancy is unique and what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, I recommend consulting with your healthcare provider or a prenatal yoga instructor to ensure proper guidance and modifications tailored to your specific needs.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Risks of Ananda Balasana: 

While performing ananda balasana, caution needs to be taken in the following: 

  • Pregnant women, children and the elderly, as there is limited data regarding the safety of this asana in these special groups. 

Following are the contraindications of ananda balasana: 8 

  • Avoid practising any yoga asana, including ananda balasana, on an uneven surface, as this will cause discomfort. 
  • The practice of ananda balasana should be avoided after heavy meals. 
  • Menstruating women should avoid the practice of ananda balasana. 
  • In case of any surgery, fractures or illnesses, the practice of ananda balasana should be avoided. 

Conclusion

Ananda balasana is the happy child pose in yoga; the name comes from Sanskrit words, “ananda” meaning happy, “bala” means child, and “asana” means yoga posture or pose. In English, this pose is called the happy child pose yoga. The practice of this asana may have a positive impact on pelvic pain in women, hypothyroidism, depression and muscular strength. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is the happy child pose in yoga? 

Ananda balasana is the happy child pose in yoga; the name comes from Sanskrit words, “ananda” meaning happy, “bala” means child, and “asana” means yoga posture or pose. In English, this pose is called the happy child pose yoga.2 

2) Which chakras are activated by the practice of ananda balasana? 

The practice of ananda balasana may help in stimulating Muladhara chakra (root chakra) and swadhisthana chakra (sacral chakra), which promotes emotional well-being. 

3) When to do ananda balasana? 

The best time to practice ananda balasana is early morning, as the body is active and fresh.2 

4) Is it safe to practice ananda balasana during pregnancy? 

There is limited information regarding the safety of ananda balasana during pregnancy. It is therefore advised to consult your doctor for proper guidance. 

5) Does ananda balasana benefit  hair growth?  

Yes, the practices of certain asanas are known to positively impact hair growth. However, there are no studies conducted to assess the effect of ananda balasana on hair growth. Thus, you should not rely on this asana alone and consult your doctor for proper management of diabetes.5 

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is only for educational purposes and are not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by any healthcare professional. Because of the unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation. 

References: 

  1. Stephens, Ina. “Medical Yoga Therapy.” Children (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 4, 2 12. 10 Feb. 2017, doi: 10.3390/children4020012. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5332914/ 
  1. B.K.S Iyengar. Light on Yoga. The bible of Modern Yoga-Its Philosophy and practice-by the world London: Thorsons.1966; 108-109. Available at:   https://mantrayogameditation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Light-on-Yoga_-The-Bible-of-Modern-Yoga-PDFDrive.com-.pdf   
  1. Mark Stephens. Teaching Yoga: Essential foundations and Techniques. Ananda balasana; 371-372. Available at:   https://books.google.co.in/books?id=yEuhYwEA_gMC&pg=RA1-PA371&lpg=RA1-PA371&dq=ananda+balasana&source=bl&ots=pHoPBZj-Zl&sig=ACfU3U0srJWSAePcVlsFtcz4l5SAt74FHA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjI4urNvIj9AhUaCbcAHVWZDfE4jAEQ6AF6BAgHEAM#v=onepage&q=ananda%20balasana&f=false 
  1. Huang, Alison J et al. “Development and Feasibility of a Group-Based Therapeutic Yoga Program for Women with Chronic Pelvic Pain.” Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.) vol. 18, 10 (2017): 1864-1872. doi:10.1093/pm/pnw306. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6279262/  
  1. Street, K. Effectiveness of Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga: Combating Anxiety, Depression, Stress and Sleep Quality. Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 2020 available at: https://scholarworks.uark.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5366&context=etd 
  1. Suraj Narayan Mali et al. Hypothyroidism and Alternative Treatment: An Overview Ijsrm.Human, 2017; Vol. 6 (1): 38-52. available at: https://ijsrm.humanjournals.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/4.-Mr.-Suraj-Narayan-Mali-Dheeraj-Shivaji-Magar-Rahul-Ashok-Sachdeo-Miss-Tejaswini-Sanjay-Morbale.pdf 
  1. Barbara Csala et al. Physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits of hatha yoga practice, Budapest, 2021. Available at: https://www.ppk.elte.hu/dstore/document/807/Csala_Barbara_disszertacio.pdf 
  1. Jabir et al. effect of balasana on cardiac parameters among healthy medical students. National journal of physiology, pharmacy and pharmacology, 2017. Available at: https://www.njppp.com/fulltext/28-1502452526.pdf 
  1. Pandey et al. A STUDY ON THE IMPACT OF YOGA ON DAILY YOGA PRACTITIONERS, The Journal of Madhyabindu Multiple Campus, Vol. 6, No. 1, 202167. Available at: https://www.nepjol.info/index.php/madhyabindu/article/view/42768 
  1. Ministry, Y.A. Do’s and don’ts of yoga practice, Yoga. Available at: https://yoga.ayush.gov.in/blog?q=58

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