Sphinx yoga pose, known as salamba bhujangasana in Sanskrit, is a baby back bending pose that gently adds flexibility to the back muscles while also opening the muscles in the shoulders and chest. Backbends like sphinx pose combat the toll that activities like sitting in front of a computer can take on upper body posture.
Tips, Photos and Videos for Beginners
Sphinx yoga pose is a gentle way to access the benefits of cobra pose. Like cobra pose, sphinx pose keeps the spine supple and alleviates back pain by strengthening the erector spinae. Resting on your elbows in the pose builds tricep bulk for toned arms. Opening the chest strengthens the trapezius for better posture and stronger shoulders.
Sphinx is an excellent preparatory pose for cobra, bow (dhanurasana), camel (ushtrasana), and other backbending poses. Because it’s easier for beginners to hold sphinx pose for extended periods of time, it’s a more realistic way to access the beneficial “abdominal massage” that comes from breathing through a backbend. The “massage” benefits the abdominal organs for better reproductive and digestive health.
Do not attempt sphinx pose if you:
- Have a back injury.
- Have a spinal injury.
Sphinx pose is perfect as your practice’s first backbend. It eases the erector spinae into the backbending action and allows you to access the flexibility of your back before moving into more intense variations. It is also an ideal opportunity for beginners to practice breathing through a backbending posture.
Follow sphinx pose with a forward bending counter pose such as child’s pose (balasana). Instead of step eight (above), bend your knees and, lowering your forehead to the mat, sit back. Slide your arms toward your body and assume child’s pose.