How to Do a Happy Baby: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a happy baby exercise to relieve tension in your hips and lower back, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Nov 20, 2023
Woman doin the happy baby pose

How to Do a Happy Baby: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a happy baby exercise to relieve tension in your hips and lower back, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Nov 20, 2023
Woman doin the happy baby pose

How to Do a Happy Baby: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a happy baby exercise to relieve tension in your hips and lower back, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Nov 20, 2023
Woman doin the happy baby pose

How to Do a Happy Baby: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a happy baby exercise to relieve tension in your hips and lower back, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Nov 20, 2023
Woman doin the happy baby pose
Table of Contents

There’s a reason yoga has been around for more than 5,000 years: It’s a low-impact way of stretching and strengthening your entire body. Breathing through the poses can promote feelings of calm and mental clarity. And there’s evidence that yoga may also reduce pain and improve your balance. What’s not to like? 

The Happy Baby pose is a favorite of ours because it delivers on the name’s promise. Sure, the exercise looks a little awkward, but it feels ah-ma-zing on your hips and lower back. Give it a try!

Our Hinge Health Experts

Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

What Is a Happy Baby?

Happy Baby is an exercise where you lie on your back, bend your knees and bring your feet toward your chest, which can relieve tension in your back and hips. 

What Muscles Does the Happy Baby Pose Work? 

  • Hip flexors. This yoga pose strengthens and stretches your hip flexors, which is a group of muscles located right near your hip bones. 

  • Adductors. These inner thigh muscles get a gentle but effective stretch.

  • Core. Happy Baby works your abs and back, and the position allows your spine to relax and release, which can help reduce lower back pain. 

  • Hamstrings. This muscle group on the back of your legs can get tight and cause pain if you sit a lot (as so many of us do). Happy Baby is a great fix for tight hamstrings.

  • Arms and shoulders. Holding your feet in this pose requires upper body strength. In addition to working your arms and shoulders, it also gives you a good stretch.

Benefits of the Happy Baby Exercise

  • Less lower back pain. Staying active in general may reduce back pain, but research also suggests that yoga poses like Happy Baby could be particularly beneficial by easing muscle tightness.

  • Better flexibility and range of motion. This exercise stretches your hips, back, and hamstrings. Boosting your flexibility through practices like yoga has been shown to improve your mobility and make everyday tasks feel easier for you.

  • More calm. In one recent study, for example, people who practiced yoga three times a week for eight weeks had significantly less stress and anxiety. Two other bonuses: All of the participants enjoyed the movement and showed improved cognition, as well.

Happy Baby: Exercises and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Happy Baby

Happy Baby

Happy Baby

Happy Baby

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To do Happy Baby:

  • On a yoga mat, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

  • Now, draw your knees up toward your chest, and reach your hands to grab the outside of your feet or ankles. 

  • Move your legs gently apart, stopping when you feel a gentle stretch in your inner thigh muscles. Breathe deeply and slowly. Focus on relaxing your pelvic floor muscles, as you hold this position.

  • Relax back to the starting position.

  • As you do each rep, you should feel a stretch in your hips and inner thigh area.

Everyone is different, which is why you may need to modify this exercise to meet your needs. 

Happy Baby Modifications

Happy Baby Modifications

Happy Baby Modifications

Happy Baby Modifications

To make Happy Baby easier:  

  • Draw your knees up toward your chest as much as you are able, then loop your hands behind the back of your thighs. Now, move your knees and feet apart for a gentle stretch. 

To make Happy Baby harder: 

  • After moving your knees apart, gently rock side to side on your back by using your legs and hips to create the side-to-side motion.  

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program. 

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.  

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. 

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

References

  1. Pandurangi, A. K., et al. (2017). Yoga: Past and Present. American Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 174, no. 1, pp. 16–17. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.16080853

  2. Saper, R.B., et al. (2017). Yoga, Physical Therapy, or Education for Chronic Low Back Pain. Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 167, no. 2, pp. I–20. doi:10.7326/p17-9039

  3. Madhivanan, P., et al. (2021). Yoga for Healthy Aging: Science or Hype? Advances in Geriatric Medicine and Research. doi:10.20900/agmr20210016

  4. Phansikar, M., et al. (2023). Feasibility and Impact of a Remote Moderate-Intensity Yoga Intervention on Stress and Executive Functioning in Working Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Behavioral Medicine. doi:10.1007/s10865-022-00385-4