Updated: Oct 14
Baby cradle pose is a simple seated hip opener exercise that gently stretches the hamstrings, pelvic floor muscles, groins, and gluteus maximus muscles. Baby cradle is a great pose, helps you to release tensions at the lower back and hips due to long hours of desk work. This pose is appropriate for beginners, but those with limited flexibility may sit on a rolled blanket to keep the back from rounding and/or use a yoga block under the lower knee.
Begin sitting with your legs in Easy Pose (Sukhasana or cross legged).
Reach down, grab the outside of your left foot and bring it into the crux of the right elbow.
Wrap your right arm around the outside of your left ankle.
Reach around your head with the other arm and clasp your fingers together.
Cradling your leg and rocking it side to side, create a stretch in your left hip and IT band, along the side of your leg.
As you inhale, lengthen your spine and roll your shoulders back. Take 8-10 breaths then switch sides.
Stretches and Strengthens:
The Baby Cradle Pose a seated hip opener stretches the hamstrings, quads, abductors (groin), gluteus maximus, and pelvic floor muscles. The stretching and strengthening of these muscles helps to support the hips and lower limbs preparing for more challenging yoga poses.
With the stretching of the hips, the tensions and stiffness at the lower back are released. It can therefore be practiced by students even with severe back pains as the posture is safe for the back.
The knees, hips, thighs, and lower back are flexed in hindolasana improving in the range of motion while reducing the tightness of the said muscles. Flexing the groin muscles (abductors) builds flexibility strengthening the entire legs.
Any persons with injury to the hips, knees, lower back, and spine, should take precautions with this pose. Students with arthritis of the hips, knees, and spine should practice this, seated on a cushion or even a chair and with complete guidance from a yoga teacher.
If Baby Cradle causes your lower back to round a lot, or doesn't feel good for your knee, then try Double Pigeon Pose instead.
Double Pigeon Pose
Stack the legs ankle-to-knee, ankle-to-knee like fire logs.
Flex the feet and actually let the top foot hang off the bottom thigh a bit if this is accessible to you, framing the knees with the feet.
Sit on a block, or place blocks/a rolled blanket/towels under the thighs for greater access in the pose if the hips are too tight to move into this without props.
Once set up, fold the upper half of the body forward. Keep the sit bones on the ground and use the weight of the body to move more deeply into the pose.
Breathe evenly and deeply and hold the pose for 2-10 minutes on each side.