Child's Pose: Practicing From the Soul, not the Ego

When yoga first found me, my practice was shaped by my ego. I pushed, I challenged, and I overexerted my energy until the very last drop. Ultimately, my practice was ego-driven. When my practice was being driven from a place of ego rather than the soul, I misinterpreted simple poses as ‘too easy’ and didn’t yet understand the benefits.

These days my asana practice is about moving intentionally, pausing in between transitions, focusing on my breath in conjunction with my slow movement, and of course, honoring my body’s call for rest. I now know what I did not then: asanas (poses) are not about expelling energy, they’re about drawing my energy in.

So, what does child’s pose offer us?

Balances the Body & Mind

Yoga poses are designed for balanced physical health and streamlined thoughts. Child’s pose is a great teacher of this lesson. Simple and symbolic of the passive growing that we do while in the womb, it asks us to grow through non-doing. It connects us to the earth. It nurtures the belly. In its lack of action, it does many things.

Liberates Our Other Senses

With the body folded into itself, as compact as one can be, child’s pose presents an opportunity to go inward. Its anatomy, by nature, disconnects us from sensory engagement. Open the eyes and all we see is our mat. It limits temptation to look around the room and engage in competition and comparison with others. Sensory withdrawal is an action step toward the remedy of scattered sensory engagement. And by doing so, it tames the mind. Until we regain power over our senses to reign in our mind, we cannot go inward. When we are quietly disengaging our senses from the outer world, and listen to our inner selves, we experience truth; that which lies beyond the five senses and the physical world.

Connects Us to Mother Nature

There’s something else quite unexpected that child’s pose teaches us: how to connect to our feet. Our feet are our main communication with the earth beneath us. It is our feet which interact with the soil, the grass, the sand. Far less often do our hands engage with Mother Nature to such an extent, let alone our most superior body part, our head. And so, folded over in child’s pose, we bow our highly head to Mother Nature. Alas, we get down on the ground and surrender to the Divine. We literally touch her with our forehead. To experience child’s pose with this attitude is humbling. It’s an act of surrender and respect for the nature beneath us, which we so easily forget.

Stimulating Our Digestion

Teacher of great wisdom, child’s pose is also a teacher of something a little more physical. It connects us to our belly. I love the feeling of folding in half and compressing my abdomen because I know that this action is stimulating digestion. Anything and everything we do for digestion is a win, as digestion is the cornerstone of health. When we pay close attention, we can actually feel the mild pressure child’s pose applies to the digestive organs.