How To Do Happy Baby Pose

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Chloe Freytag demonstrating Happy Baby Pose in a black tank top and yoga pants

Happy baby pose tops the charts as a favorite amongst most yogis. Happy baby opens and stretches the hips, groin and back and promotes relaxation. Learning how to do happy baby pose will give you a comfortable pose to go to any time you are in need of rest or recovery whether during a yoga practice or simply stretching and recovering after a long day. Its even a great pose to help stretch you back and hips before getting out of bed in the morning.

The name “happy baby” stems from the origin of the pose. Imagine a baby lying in his or her crib holding their toes, smiling and making silly noises. It’s a natural posture for our bodies from the time we are born. Happy baby pose has you start on your back, lift your legs wide into the air and then grab hold of your big toes with your index and middle fingers. As you hold your toes you begin to gently pull them down toward your body in order to coax your knees toward your shoulders. This simple pose opens up your lower back, the connective tissue surrounding the hip joint and even gives you a nice groin stretch. In addition, the position itself helps promote relaxation, which is why it is such a great pose to do as you are winding down for the evening and preparing for sleep.

This pose is simple enough it can be done at any age and by people in nearly any condition. If you can lay on your back, you can do happy baby pose.

For other great ideas if you have tight hips, try our routine called 6 Poses to Relieve Tight Hips and you’re bound to feel better!

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    How To Do Happy Baby Pose

    1) Begin lying on your back and grab your big toes with your index and middle fingers.

    2) Gently draw toes down so knee pull toward shoulders. Keep elbows gently pressing knees open.

    3) Relax and breathe. Hold 30 seconds.

    Watch as Chris Freytag teaches how to do happy baby pose in the video below!

    [adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”cB2O26HW” upload-date=”2019-02-21T01:44:06.000Z” name=”How To Do Happy Baby Pose” description=”Watch and listen as Chris Freytag teaches how to do happy baby pose!

    1) Begin lying on your back and grab your big toes with your index and middle fingers.

    2) Gently draw toes down so knee pull toward shoulders. Keep elbows gently pressing knees open.

    3) Relax and breathe. Hold 30 seconds.”]

    What Muscles Does Happy Baby Work?

    Happy baby is a yoga pose that stretches and opens up your hips and lower back. Happy baby also promotes relaxation. It’s an amazing pose that can and should be done both before and after a workout and especially as part of a yoga practice.

    Benefits of Happy Baby

    There are many reasons you should incorporate happy baby into your workouts. Here are just a few:

    Stretch and Open The Hips

    Whether you exercise frequently or spend most of the day sitting, hips and hip flexors are a tight spot on the body. Happy baby is a gentle way to open your hip flexors and relieve tight hips.

    Stretch and Release Lower Back

    There are many reasons for a tight lower back. It could be the back itself but it could also be a tight IT Band, tight hip flexors or any number of other things. Happy baby is a start to releasing the lower back. Once you begin with this gentle opening you can move to deeper poses.

    Promotes Relaxation and Calm

    Happy baby is often used as part of the final relaxation in a yoga practice. This pose is a great way to relieve tension, help you slow down your breathing pattern and calm the central nervous system.

    How Many Calories Does Happy Baby Burn?

    People often ask how many calories they are burning in their workouts. Most exercises will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are working at moderate to high intensity. Happy baby is a stationary yoga pose, not meant to be a big calorie burning move. However, in the context of a yoga practice, the rule above applies! Yoga can be a great way to burn calories. Consider happy baby the cherry on top at the end!

    Other Exercises Similar to Happy Baby

    If you like happy baby and the results you are getting, here are a few more yoga poses you might want to try.

    1. How To Do Butterfly Pose
    2. How To Do Yogi Squat Pose
    3. How To Do Savasana

    Incorporating Happy Baby Into Your Workouts

    Happy baby is a great exercise all on its own! However, you could also incorporate Happy baby into other workouts to mix them up. Here are some ideas to get you started.

    Use Happy Baby as a Post Workout Stretch

    Any workout you do is going to require a great stretch at the end to get your muscles released and prepared for the next time you exercise. Happy baby is a great stretch to use following a workout of any kind.

    Post-Workout Stretch

    This stretch routine includes happy baby and gives you an overall great way to finish any workout. Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds.

    Standing Side Bend – Right

    Standing Side Bend – Left

    Crescent Lunge on Knee – Right

    Crescent Lunge on Knee – Left

    Pigeon Pose Right

    Pigeon Pose Left

    Seated Forward Fold

    Happy Baby

    Use Happy Baby in a Yoga Workout

    Yoga is known for building strength and calm as well as stretching your muscles and connective tissue. Happy baby is an amazing pose to incorporate into your yoga practice. Check it out in our Day Starter Yoga Workout:

    Day Starter Yoga Workout

    This invigorating yoga sequence is a great way to wake up and start the day! All you need is a mat or a little space to move.

    Start in savasana and take 8-10 deep breaths. Then move to happy baby pose for 3-5 breaths.


    Happy Baby

    Then slowly rise to a standing position, step wide and go down into sun god and lift up 5 times with deep breaths.

    Sun God

    Move to mountain pose and flow through the following 5 times:

    Mountain Pose

    Monkey Pose

    Plank Pose


    Up Dog

    Downward Dog

    Step your feet through and sit down and do each of the following for 3-5 breaths:

    Happy Baby

    Boat Pose

    Reverse Table Top

    Seated Forward Fold

    Now go and enjoy a day full of energy!!!!

    Use Happy Baby To Help You Sleep

    Happy baby can be used as part of your bedtime routine to help calm your central nervous system and help prepare you to sleep. Try this short, slow sequence before you get into bed next time and see if it helps your relax. For each of the following poses, hold for 3-5 slow breaths.

    Forward Fold

    Sleeping Pigeon

    Fish Pose

    Happy Baby


    Here are 3 more workouts that incorporate happy baby:

    How To Relieve Yoga With Headaches

    6 Yoga Poses To Relieve Tight Hips

    10 Yoga Poses You Should Do Every Day

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