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Gokhale℠ Moment: Child's Pose (Gokhale Method Modified)




This modified child's pose is actually called "puppy pose" or "half dog". I am a yoga teacher and include this pose in every class. It can be intense on the shoulder joints so students should bend their elbows or not lift their hips up off their legs so much- if they experience discomfort. I also teach a variation of child's pose where the knees are wide apart (to the edges of the yoga mat) and big toes are touching. The torso is able to sink down towards the mat and the low back can stay in neutral instead of flattening. And it feels really good!

I began this exercise to release my trap muscles which very painfully seize from ears to waist as a result of two back to back cervical spinal surgeries.  It took several sessions before I began to feel them release and it really felt good.  However, out of nowhere, for the first time ever, my knees starting giving me great pain - especially when I tried to walk down stairs/hills. 

I tried varying my legs from the traditional child's pose underneath my body to spreading them apart in varying degrees - all to no avail - my knees just kept getting worse.

I had not started any other new exercises, nor had any lifestyle changes.

I have now stopped that exercise and my knees are slowly "recovering" - but my upper back is begging for attention.

Do I have any options?



Here are some things to check:

1. Are your knees sensitive to pressure? Some people need a knee pad / cushioned surface to make any contact with the knees comfortable.

2. Are you internally rotating or excessively externally rotating your legs while doing this pose? Make sure your legs are tracking well and if you are not sure what this means get someone adept with our method to check you.

3. Do your knees not tolerate bending well? Sometimes there is cumulative arthritic change and inflammation in the knee joint that makes bending challenging. It may work for you to raise your hips higher, set your forehead further out on the ground, and bend your knees less than in my demo.

Given that you have some significant medical history, I suggest you see a PT and one of our trained teachers. You will probably be able to find a happy equilibrium to help your traps and not hurt your knees, and they will probably have some extra suggestions to help you along.

Good luck with this! IT sounds like your upper body would like to have this work.



I have been using the modified Child's Pose for many years. If done gently and mindfully, it is very relaxing and helpful in lengthening the soft tissue and restoring a healthier alignment in the spine. The key is to move slowly and make sure you're able to exhale while lengthening your body. Otherwise, you may be doing the pose with too much intensity. Enjoy! Smile


I've just received my first newsletter from you which contained a link to this video; however, I am getting the following error message:


Because of its privacy settings, this video cannot be played here.'

Also, there seem to be a great number of hoops before posting - the verification process is arduous and somewhat impenetrable.


I have problems in the lower back due to muscle imbalances and weakness, also with the psoas - can I still do this pose?