Move into stillness while opening into Half Happy Baby Pose, Ardha Ananda Balasana. Experience deep opening in the hips, groin and in the low back, the lumbar spine.
In preparation for Half Happy Baby, come into Happy Baby Pose. Come to lie down on the back. Bring the knees in towards the chest and give yourself a big hug. Rock the hips from side to side to massage the low back. Come into Happy Baby Pose, open the knees wide and grab for the soles of the feet, ankles, thighs, or use straps for support. Iron the tailbone down towards the ground or in “Yin” yoga, you have the option to allow the spine to round, allowing the tailbone to slightly come off of the ground. Stay here and breathe, allowing the hips to open.
To come into Half Happy Baby: Bring the right knee in towards the chest. Grab onto the sole of the foot, ankle, thigh or use a strap for support. Use the strength of the right arm to gently draw the knee and foot closer towards the floor. Stay here and breathe for 5-10 full rounds of breaths, creating long and smooth inhales and exhales. Option to stay longer than 5-10 breaths in order to allow the body to open and in order to best serve your body.
Notice that over time, as you allow the body to relax and the breath softens, you may be able to go “deeper” into the pose by drawing the knee and foot closer towards the ground. Notice that the left hip may want to lift off of the ground. Press the left hip down towards the ground and press energy through the left heel.
Take the same mindful movements on the opposite side.
Slowly come out of the posture and option to take a counter action with the body. Bring the soles of the feet to the ground, wider than hip-width distance apart with the knees bent. Allow the inside area of the knees to fall from side to side like a windshield wiper, allowing the hips to internally rotate as a counter-pose to Happy Baby or Half Happy Baby, which helps to externally rotate the hips.
Pause and notice how you feel after slowing down and moving into stillness. Notice how you feel after making an effort to relax into the pose rather than react and resist in the pose. The opportunity arises to transfer your yoga practice off of your mat and into your day-to-day by making an effort to stop and breathe before reacting, bringing unnecessary stress and challenges into your life.
Half Happy Baby Pose is traditionally taught in the style of “Yin” yoga, a more passive opening of the body including the connective tissues, joints, ligaments and bones. The “Yang” style of yoga, in opposition, tends to use more muscular strength, and is more heat building, creating long lines of energy and length in the body. Rather than resisting tightness and tension in the body, use the breath, to settle into the posture and allow the body to relax and open-up over time.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga and breathing techniques.
Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga
Christi Iacono is a certified yoga teacher, at the 500 hour level, and she is the owner of In Rhythms Yoga, in Clairemont. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mount Streets. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve their body. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
IRY offers regularly scheduled classes on, Sat., Sun. and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Meditation classes start the last Thursday in Oct., from 6-7 p.m. and run for 4 weeks, consecutively. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.