Sphinx pose is a great pose to use towards the beginning of a class. It can help restore the natural curve of your lower back, is a gentle heart opener, and is a simple pose to do while watching TV! Many of my yin classes include sphinx because of its accessibility.
Get into Sphinx Pose Step-by-Step
- Begin in a tabletop position.
- Lower your elbows onto the mat with your fingers pointing forward. Walk your legs back until you come to lay on your belly.
- Draw your feet to hip or mat width distance apart. Allow your hip flexors to press into the mat.
- Spread your fingers wide. Gently press into the mat with your hands and forearms and pull back slightly to open your chest forward.
- Keep your gaze just off the top of your mat to elongate the back of your neck.
- Physical: Creates compression for the lower back and assists in the natural curve of the lower spine. Mild opening across the front of the shoulders and chest. Depending on the variation, there may be a release for the neck.
- Energetic: The Urinary Bladder meridian is stimulated through the lower back compression.
- Emotional & Mental: The sacral and heart chakras are activated in sphinx. This pose is energizing and uplifting.
- If there is any pinching or pain, back out of the pose.
- For lower back pain, walk your elbows slightly forward or slowly ease your arms back over time. Or take child’s pose.
- For wrist pain or injuries, place a bolster until your elbows.
- If pregnant, use a bolster under your hip flexors to lift your body off of the mat. Place your forearms on blocks lengthwise.
- Avoid this pose if you have a headache.
- Supported Sphinx: For a more relaxed variation, place a bolster under your upper ribs or just below your bust. Walk your elbows out in front of the bolster to remove pressure or any holding sensation in your arms.
- For a neck release, place a block on its highest setting in front of your face. Rest your brow and forehead onto the block while keeping the back of the neck long. Or draw your hands together, and spread your fingers as you lift your hands off of the ground. Rest your third eye on the tips of your thumbs.
- You may place a folded blanket under your hips to provide comfort.
Get Out of the Pose
- Walk your arms forward as you lower the front side of your body to the mat.
- Point your elbows wide to either side of your mat.
- Stack your hands and rest your head on the back of your hands.
- Windshield wipers.
- Child’s pose.
How Long to Hold Sphinx?
- 3-5 minutes.
- If adding on seal you may come back into sphinx for a minute between rounds. This helps to prep the body for the deeper backbend without prolonged intensity.