Saddle can do wonders for you if you spend a lot of time sitting. This is why so many students (and maybe yourself) love it or hate it, the opening can be great in your hip flexors or it can feel like too much! Allow yourself to ease into this pose and avoid pushing yourself as it intensifies quickly.
Get into Saddle Pose Step-by-Step
- Begin sitting on your heels and shins.
- Option: Move your heels out, away from your sit bones so that your sit bones come to rest on the mat. Your heels are to the outside of your hips/thighs. If this is uncomfortable for your knees at all, stay sitting on your heels.
- Walk your hands behind you as you slowly lower your back down onto the mat. You may stop and stay on your hands, your elbows, or on a bolster.
- Option: Reach your arms above your head to land on the mat behind you.
- Physical: Increases hip mobility. Deep stretch for quadriceps and hip flexors. Compression of the lower back. If arms are reached overhead it also provides a stretch for the front abs and obliques.
- Energetic: The lower back compression targets the Urinary Bladder meridians. The opening of the front body targets the Spleen, Stomach, and Kidney meridians. If arms are overhead the Heart and Lung meridians also benefit.
- Emotional & Mental: This can be a mentally challenging or relaxing pose, depending on the person. Practice stillness in mind and body as you tap into your solar plexus chakra.
- If there is any pain, pinching, or burning, come out of the pose immediately.
- For knee injuries sit on a block or bolster or avoid the pose.
- For lower back pain or injuries, try the laying-down side variation.
- Supported Saddle: Rest back onto a bolster either horizontally for your elbows or vertically for your spine.
- One-Legged Saddle: Have only one leg bent by your side and your other leg either extended or your foot planted on the floor. Lean back as far as feels comfortable. This intensifies the stretches for your belly and quads. Option to hug the top leg into your chest.
- Laying Down Side: Lay on either side of your body. Draw the heel of your top leg towards your bum. Hold onto your foot. You may rest your head on your bicep or prop it up with your hand. Your bottom leg may rest however is comfortable and keeps you balanced.
Get Out of the Pose
- Release your arms by your sides.
- Slowly come back onto your elbows, then hands, until shoulders are stacked over hips.
- Draw your heels back under your sit bones.
- Child’s pose.
- Hug knees to chest.
How Long to Hold Saddle?
- 1-5 minutes.
- If practicing variations, hold each for 1-3 minutes.
- You can also add depth to the pose by going deeper after 1-2 minutes.