Child's Pose to Recover and Recharge
One of the most popular “resting” poses in many yoga classes is Balasana, which is known as Child’s Pose. For swimmers and other athletes, this pose provides a relaxing stretch after a workout, gently releasing the back, hips and shoulders.
How to get into Child’s Pose
To get into this pose, start by kneeling on your hands and knees. Bring the knees together and let the hips reach down to meet the heels. Rest your torso onto your thighs so that your forehead can touch the ground. For swimmers, extending the arms forward provides a deep stretch for the shoulders. You can alternate between actively extending the arms forward and bringing them to rest at your sides for a more restorative variation.
Different Variations & Modifications
Depending on the day and how your body is feeling, you might want to experiment with using folded blankets and other props to help make the pose more accessible.
If your seat does not easily touch your heels, you may place a folded blanket or two between the backs of your thighs and calves.
If your forehead does not easily reach the ground, you can use a folded blanket or stack your hands underneath your forehead.
For a deeper stretch, you can open the knees wide and allow your torso to extend towards the floor.
Benefits For Swimmers & Other Athletes
Stretching (even for 5 minutes) after every workout can yield huge results for all athletes by restoring balance to the body and accelerating recovery. Breathing deeply and fully into the back side of the body will allow you to go deeper into relaxation, which will release a little more tension with each breath.
Benefits of child’s pose include:
Gently stretches and releases tension in the back, hips, thighs, ankles and shoulders
Lengthens and stretches the spine
Can relieve lower back and neck pain when the head and torso are adequately supported
Encourages deep and steady breathing
Quiets the mind and calms the nervous system
If you are unable to get to a yoga class, remember to stretch on your own after every workout or at the end of your day.