Child's pose (Balasana or Balasana) is an effective restorative pose that serves to both calm the mind and relax the body. Typically used after an active practice phase has concluded, Child's Pose can also be used throughout class as an aid to refocus attention or calm nervous systems at any point - or used simply before bed as a soothing calming pose.
This relaxing posture is a full-body stretch designed to gently stretch spine, hips, thighs and ankles. This posture may help relieve back, neck and knee pain as well as alleviate anxiety fatigue or headaches.
Child's pose provides one of its greatest benefits in its instruction of conscious breath exploration. Due to chest compression between thighs, you are forced to breathe around ribs rather than in through nose/out through mouth; this teaches slow, deliberate breathing that reduces heart rate.
Stretching out also stretches the trapezius muscles which run down the center of your back and are responsible for shoulder movement and rotation. It's an effective posture to stretch both your back and neck, and may help relieve back or neck pain.
Some individuals may find child's pose uncomfortable due to tightness in the lower back or neck. To address this discomfort, consider adding a bolster or pillow beneath your head, and by spreading out arms - either resting them by your sides or over the chest; experimentation will allow you to find what position best meets your body needs.