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Pose of the Week: Dead Bug/Happy Baby

Ananda Balasana

There are fewer poses that get such a chuckle from high school football players. Dead bug can send them into fits, but at the same time allow gravity to open their hips, inner thighs and release pressure on their backs.

This pose is usually thrown in toward the end of a practice and can be done static or rocking gently from side to side in a variation commonly known as Happy Baby.

Getting into the Pose

Dead BugLying on your back, draw your knees into the chest. Reach for the insides of the feet and separate the knees. The feet will remain flexed.

Draw your knees toward the ground and your feet push toward the sky.

Breathe through this pose, elongating your spine and melting your sacrum into the ground.

Allow your shoulders to sink toward the ground as the chest broadens.

Keep the gaze toward the toes to elongate the neck.

If it feels good to you, rock gently side to side, giving your back a little massage.

Hold this with steady breath for up to one minute.

Benefits for Athletes

Most athletes have tightness in the hips and inner thighs and groin area. This pose relieves that all.

It can also be practiced as a restorative pose, as gravity does most of the work here.

Those with knee issues or injuries should move slowly into this pose,  making sure it feels fine before attempting to hold for a long period of time.

Common Misalignments and Tips for Better Form

  • Lower back lifts up: Take a yoga strap or old men’s tie around each foot, holding on to it with each hand. Keep your tailbone sinking into the ground as you explore your flexibility.
  • Arching in the upper back: Keep your shoulder blades wide and grounded and allow the shoulders to sink down while pulling on the feet.
  • Arching of the neck: Place a towel or folded blanket under the head to avoid strain.

About Shoshana Hebshi

I write about what interests me, which could be anything from a scrap of mossy wood to a revolution. Mom to twins, Californian living in the American Midwest, wife of fledgling physician and the daughter of an Arab and a Jew.

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