The yin yoga posture of happy baby pose or stirrup pose helps to open the hips and the inner line of the leg. The movement creates external rotation in the hips and can also decompress the sacrum and the sacroiliac joint.
Energetically, it targets the Liver, Kidney, Spleen, Gallbladder and Urinary Bladder meridians.
To begin, lay on your back and hug your knees in. Grab a hold of the soles of your feet with your hands and gently pull. Some teachers suggest grabbing the inside of the feet but I prefer grabbing the outside of the feet as I find this creates more space across the chest and shoulders.
Yin Yoga Happy Baby and Yin Yoga Stirrup Pose Variations
There are many variations of this pose. Be sure to use a variation that allows your upper back and shoulders to relax.
If you can’t reach your feet use straps on the feet or start by drawing the heels in towards the groin instead up towards the ceiling. You can also practice with one leg at a time. Place the opposite foot on the floor or extend the leg completely to the floor.
Other options include “eye of the needle pose” and doing a squat on the wall laying on your back.
To release the pose draw your knees in, then rest with feet on the floor and knees falling inwards for “constructive rest”. Another option is to do a few “windshield wiper” movements to re-establish internal rotation.