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
- Start laying on your back with your feet planted on the mat.
- Hug your knees into your chest or get a bit of momentum to roll back.
- Lift your hips off of the mat as you extend your legs behind you. Toes tuck or land on a bolster.
- Use your hands to support your lower back while your upper arms and elbows press into the mat.
- Option: Extend your arms with palms to the mat and fingers pointing to the top of your mat.
- 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
- Release your hands from your lower back and press your palms and arms firmly into the mat.
- Bend into your knees as you slowly lower your spine back to the mat. Upper back, middle back, then lower back.
- Twisted root.
- Windshield wipers.
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.