Skip to Content

Why you can’t breathe in child’s pose and what to do

Why you can’t breathe in child’s pose and what to do

We all love to strengthen our bodies with a powerful, fast-paced vinyasa. However, restful moments such as Balasana are important to assimilate all the practice nutrients and nurture our body. Child’s Pose, or Balasana, is crucial in any yogi’s practice, and it is vital that you feel comfortable in it. 

If you can’t breathe in Child’s Pose, it might be because the thighs compress your abdomen. So, while keeping your toes together, move the knees wider: Extended Child’s Pose creates more space for the chest and belly. Prop your head and torso up using blocks and bolsters for extra support.

While Child’s Pose is a staple in every yogi’s practice, other solutions can help you feel more comfortable. Find out all you need below. 

Child’s Pose: Overview and Variations

can't breathe in child's pose
Happy Baby Pose

Child’s Pose, or Balasana in Sanskrit, is a restful pose that you will likely find in most Vinyasa practices. It might be used as a way to break an intensive yoga flow and reconnect with your breath. Or, you might find it as a counter-pose for inversions and backbends.

While this pose is accessible by beginner yogis, it can bring some unmissable benefits to anybody’s practice. Indeed, Child’s Pose can help you gently stretch your hips, hamstrings, and quads. At the same time, you might use it to lengthen your torso, open your chest, and release any tension that might be dwelling in your lower back. 

However, while Child’s Pose is undoubtedly important, it does not have to be in your practice if you don’t feel comfortable in it. Luckily, some variations, such as Happy Baby Pose, Wind Release Pose, and Extended Child’s Pose.

If you are visiting a yoga studio, you might also try hands-on assists, which is usually delivered by your yoga teacher and might help you understand how to adapt this pose to your body’s needs.

Below, you can find all the tips you need to enjoy a relaxing moment in your yoga practice. 

Breathing In Child’s Pose: What You Need To Know

When in Child’s Pose, your abdomen, belly, and chest will be resting on your thighs. While doing so, you will also be pushing your lower back towards your heels, increasing the compression. 

This position is ideal if you are looking to increase the spinal flexion, allowing the lower back to release and the torso to extend. However, because of the knees’ position, there will be less space for the groin, abdomen, and chest to fall. 

For some individuals, this pose does not represent an impediment to breathing. However, every yogi is different, and so their practice should be. In the case of Child’s Pose, several aspects might make it uncomfortable, such as:

  • Sensitivity in the knees
  • Past injuries and pain in the joints 
  • Tighten in some muscles, such as thighs and hamstrings
  • Body composition and shape (your belly or breast might add to the compression)

However, yoga is a practice for everybody, and you should rest assured that you can find suitable alternatives to meet your specific needs. 

Breathing Into the Back of the Torso

While it is crucial to understand how to encourage unrestricted breathing, it is also essential to learn how to breathe correctly in Balasana to obtain all of this pose’s benefits. 

When in Child’s Pose, you will be practicing sending your breath to the back of the torso, down towards your lower back. This type of breathing is something that we don’t always consciously do, but it can help release tension, expand the lower back and widen the spine. You can achieve this by practicing diaphragmatic breathing.

When doing so in Child’s Pose, you can also use your exhales to fold more deeply into the pose, thus achieving an even greater spinal flexion. However, you can obtain similar benefits by opting for Happy Baby Pose or Extended Child’s Pose as your resting posture. 

Breathing In Child’s Pose: Extra Tips To Relax

Child’s pose might be a unique opportunity in your practice to reconnect with your breath before re-entering the flow. Or, you might decide to substitute for a vinyasa if you find yourself in need of an extra moment of rest. 

However, if you are using this posture to stabilize and regain control over your breathing, it is crucial to adjust it to be at ease. The tips below can help you create more space between your chest, abdomen, groin, and thighs so that you can enjoy unrestricted breathing. 

Place Your Forehead on Blocks

In Child’s Pose, the center of your forehead – or Third Eye’s space – should be released on the mat. Instead of keeping the head lifted, releasing it onto the mat allows you to take the tension off the neck muscles and enjoy full relaxation. 

However, when the torso and head are extended over the thighs, you might find it harder to breathe. In this case, you should consider placing yoga blocks under your forehead to lift the ground towards your Third Eye. These tips will allow you to extend your torso while taking some pressure off the abdomen. 

Consider trying different settings of your blocks to find the one that works best for you. 

Place Bolster Under Your Torso

Pillows and bolsters should be part of your yoga equipment, especially upon exploring new postures. In Child’s Pose, you can place the pillows and bolster under your torso, abdomen, pelvis, and groin, so the whole body is supported. 

This tip allows you to create more space between your bally and the thighs and reduce the compressions you might feel because of your thighs’ position.

Use a Folded Blanket

If you are at a yoga class or home without props, you can use a folded blanket to create more space. You could place it between your calves and the quads to lift your hips and bring the torso slightly forward. This technique can also help you take some pressure off your knees – something to consider if you have been feeling discomfort. 

Alternatively, you can place a folded blanket over your thighs and create some extra space for your torso to fold over.

Other Restful Poses to Try

While the modifications above can help you enjoy some relaxing time in Child’s Pose, they might not be suitable for everybody. In this case, you could consider some alternative poses that can yield similar benefits and still allow you to relax, extend your torso, breath into your lower back, and encourage a mild spinal flexion. 

You can check a quick alternative in this video or find some more options below:

These include:

  • Extended Child’s Pose (Utthita Balasana) – follow the guidelines for child’s pose, but bring your knees apart, as wide as the mat. Doing so will create more space for your chest, groin, and abdomen to fall in. It also encourages a deeper opening of the chest and torso extension. 
  • Apasana (Wind Release Pose) – if you prefer to rest on your back, you can do so by bringing both of your knees to the chest. Remember to breathe into the lower back and gently push it towards the mat. 
  • Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose) – start by lying on your mat, with your head and lower back flush with the mat. Bend your knees and bring them to your chest. Grab the soles of your feet and pull them closer to the heart while keeping your spine straight on the mat. 


Child’s pose is an essential resting pose that you can practice at any point during your vinyasa. However, it might feel uncomfortable in some cases because of the pressure that the thighs can exercise on the groin, torso, chest, and abdomen. 

In this case, you should look to create some extra space by propping your head up or using bolsters and pillows to make some more room for the abdomen. If these adjustments don’t work, Extended Child’s Pose, Happy Baby Pose, and Wind Release Pose are always available

Sharing is caring!