Using Child’s Pose to Address Anxiety
While there is no quick fix for the symptoms of anxiety, it can be helpful to cultivate a few strategies and tools to assist you when feeling overwhelmed. Anxiety can show up many ways. Sometimes it presents as a feeling of restlessness or fatigue, an alarming heart beat, or you may feel jumpy, irritable or experience excessive unease, worry, or a sensation of impending doom. Anxiety can appear in the mind, with racing thoughts or an inclination to think of all the worst case scenarios. It may feel like a strong current of energy which lies at the surface of your awareness all the time, or perhaps it comes upon you with a sense of panic and alarm and a feeling of losing control.
However it shows up, the ability to take a proactive step in the present moment can be helpful in creating a little space in which to notice that you are having a thoughts, sensations, and feelings of anxiety, and determine how you would best like to address these symptoms.
There is a growing body of research to show that yoga, both the poses and breath practices, can be helpful in addressing anxiety. Below are some of the benefits of child’s pose on addressing the symptoms of anxiety, along with simple directions for practicing the pose.
Some benefits of child’s pose on releasing symptoms of anxiety:
- relaxes the muscles of the back, shoulders, and neck — areas of muscular tension where anxiety is often held
- promotes relaxation by encouraging awareness of the breath as it moves into the back of the body
- the gentle curvature of the spine helps create a feeling of safety and security, mimicking the form of the body in the womb
- the contact of the head resting on the floor (or a prop to rest the head on) may stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which helps produce a state of equilibrium in the body and promotes a quieting of the mind
- promotes a sense of grounding and quieting through contact with the parts of the body in contact with the floor
Coming into child’s pose:
This pose may be done on the floor, or if knees are an issue, seated on a chair and folding forward onto another chair facing you with a bolster bridging the two chairs. Here are the directions for child’s pose on the floor:
- From a table top position on all fours, bring the feet together, keeping the knees hip distance apart.
- Uncurl the toes, making contact with the tops of the feet and the floor
- Shift the hips back toward the heels, as you walk the arms forward.
- Bring the head to rest on the floor, a folded blanket, bolster, or block.
- Release the arms to the sides of the body by the hips with the palms facing up.
- Become conscious of your inhalations and exhalations, noticing the constriction of the front of the body as the belly is in contact with the thighs.
- Continue to breathe easily, bringing your attention to the back of the body, where the breath can more easily be felt with less constriction
- Be aware of the lower, mid, and upper back softly spreading and contracting with each round of breath.
- With each exhalation, allow yourself to release more fully into the pose, letting go of any muscular tension or stress in the body.
- When you are ready to come out, gently place your hands in front of your body, helping yourself back up slowly.