None of us are as symmetrical as we might think… this asymmetrical Half Happy Baby pose allows for that, working around the tighter areas rather into them directly – a “sneak attack” approach, if you will. The rhythmic nature of this pose soothes the tighter areas without raising any alerts and allows them to release at their own pace.
One note for the giver here, this pose can be challenging on your knees and requires a fair amount of strength in them to maintain your posture. If you have “bad” knees this may not be a pose you want in your repetoire.
How to do Half Happy Baby Pose:
- Have your partner lie on their back.
- Hold your partner’s heels one in each hand as you lift one leg.
- Remember to lift with your legs, not your back.
- Walk in toward your partner’s hips. Bend the leg by pressing your shin into the back of their knee as you turn your leg out.
- Use your shin to do compressions on the back of the leg, moving from the back of the knee toward the hip.
- Use your bodyweight to control the pressure you give and the stretch you give.
- Your partner’s extended leg may move, that’s ok, it will do what it needs to.
- After a few times up and down, back up to gently straighten their leg and lay it back down on the floor.
- Proceed to the other side.
Benefits: Releases tight hamstrings, hips and low back.
Cautions: Be mindful of your own knees. If your partner is very flexible, you may end up bending your knees a great deal. To avoid discomfort, adjust your body position – you can work this pose in a knee down lunge, as well.
We often do Full Happy Baby (otherwise known as Dead Bug Pose) in class but Half Happy baby is less common. One of the great benefits of doing the half version in massage and in yoga is the opening for the front of the hip.
To do Half Happy Baby on your own, lie on your back, place your left foot on the floor with your knee bent and take your right knee toward your chest. Reach down with your right hand to hold the outside edge of your right foot with your elbow to the inside of your knee. If your foot seems too far away, use a strap. Ground your shoulders, lengthen your spine and draw your right knee toward the floor beside your torso while the sole of your foot points toward the sky. Keep your weight even on both butt cheeks. Slowly begin to slide your left foot away from your bottom, taking the leg toward straight. Take the leg as close to straight as you can while maintaining the length of your spine and position of your right leg. Flex the left foot and press into the heel. Breathe here for a while, then slowly release and try the other side.
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