Child's Pose
Adho Mukha Virasana

Sit back on your heels, and then slowly release forward into Child's Pose, resting your forehead on your mat or on a blanket. Place your hands, palms up, by your feet. You may place a bolster under your torso and head to support the front of your spine, or rest your chest upon your thighs. Sink your hips and shoulders down toward the earth, allowing your back to round evenly. Let your forehead relax, letting your thoughts pour like water onto the earth. The skin of your face drops from the bones, and your eyes, jaw, and tongue soften and release.

In the humility, reverence, and surrender of Child's Pose, we open ourselves completely to all of creation. We acknowledge and experience being the embodied child of the Immanent and Transcendent. In this natural human position of prayer, we can find within us the love that radiates from the depths of our heart toward all creatures everywhere. As it is written in the great ancient yogic text, the Mundaka Upanishad,

The Lord of Love shines in the heart of all,
Seeing him in all creatures, the wise
Forget themselves in the service of all.
The Word is their joy, the Lord is their rest;
Such as they are the lovers of the Lord.

Arrive in the heart of the present moment. Stay as still as a deer standing silently in the forest, its ears softly quivering, alert to every sound. Listen everywhere, with open spacious awareness, like the deer.

From this vibrant animal stillness, lengthen your arms out in front of you, like a cat stroking the earth, without letting the movement ruffle your mind. Let your arms grow from your heart, sitting bones, and feet. Press your hands down, connecting with and grounding into the darkness of the earth beneath you.

Continue reaching forward as if you were now gently moving through water. Allow your body to undulate softly like a fish. Swim your arms further out onto your mat, lengthening from your belly to your fingers. Let the warm fluid energy you now feel stream evenly to all your cells, awakening your whole body. Feel your oneness with all sea creatures, from the tiniest squiggly amoeba to the majestic blue whale leaping in joy.

Millions of people are now praying in this position of prayer and devotion. Link the human community to the animal world with a prayer for the protection and liberation of all sentient beings everywhere. Your body is now a temple in which your heart sings a silent song of blessing for all creation."

Andrew Harvey, Karuna Erickson in Heart Yoga