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Snail Pose

Snail Pose

Snail pose is a great option for yin practitioners and students who want an “advanced” or a bit of a challenging pose. In yin this Vinyasa-style pose can be held in a more relaxed variation to assist in inner contemplation and release the whole spine.

Get into Snail Pose Step-by-Step

  1. Start laying on your back with your feet planted on the mat.
  2. Hug your knees into your chest or get a bit of momentum to roll back.
  3. Lift your hips off of the mat as you extend your legs behind you. Toes tuck or land on a bolster.
  4. Use your hands to support your lower back while your upper arms and elbows press into the mat.
  5. Option: Extend your arms with palms to the mat and fingers pointing to the top of your mat.
  6. Bend or straighten your legs are much as feels comfortable.


  • Physical: Brings more blood flow to the head and decompresses the entire spine. The heart is relaxed and compression of the internal organs helps to increase blood and oxygen circulation.
  • Energetic: The Urinary Bladder meridian is stimulated.
  • Emotional & Mental: Said to help you move through attachment and grief. This pose is ideal for self-reflection as the throat, heart, and solar plexus chakras are activated through compression.


  • For shoulder and neck injuries, avoid this pose. Opt for caterpillar instead.
  • Avoid snail if you have high blood pressure, are pregnant, have vertigo, or have a cold.
  • For lower back pain, avoid this pose.
  • Avoid spinal extension after this pose. Lay on your back for a few breaths first.


  • Snail has various stages.
  • Stage 1: Use your hands to support your lower back. Keep legs extended or with a slight bend in the knee. Place your feet on a bolster or the mat.
  • Stage 2: Extend your arms long behind you, toward the top of your mat.
  • Stage 3: Try your hands above your head. Your toes come to land on your hands.
  • Stage 4: Bend deeply into your knees. This encourages the most rounding of the spine.
  • Waterfall: Place a bolster or block under your sacrum/pelvis. Lift your legs into the sky and bend your knees.
  • Legs Up the Wall: Draw your sit bones to the edge of a wall. Swing your legs above you as you come to lay down on your back. Let your legs rest against the wall.

Get Out of the Pose

  1. Release your hands from your lower back and press your palms and arms firmly into the mat.
  2. Bend into your knees as you slowly lower your spine back to the mat. Upper back, middle back, then lower back.

Counter Poses

How Long to Hold Snail?

  • 3-5 minutes.
  • Snail pose can cause issues for students breathing deeply. Explain how to get out of the pose safely once they arrive so they may release sooner if they need to.

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