Sphinx Pose Beginners Yoga

  1. Begin by lying face-down on the floor with your legs extended behind you, hip-width apart. Keep your arms at your sides and your chin on the mat. Press the tops of your feet into the mat and spread your toes. Do not tuck your toes, as this can crunch your spine.
  2. Bring your arms up and rest your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor, parallel to each other. Point your middle fingers directly forward.
  3. On an inhalation, press your forearms into the floor and lift your head and chest off the floor. Press your pubic bone into the floor. Strongly engage your legs. Roll your outer thighs slightly toward the floor to help lengthen your low back.
  4. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides. Drop your shoulder blades down your back and draw your chest forward. Lengthen your tailbone toward your heels.
  5. Let your face and eyes soften. Draw your chin toward the back of your neck. Gaze at your “third eye,” the space between your eyebrows.
  6. Hold for up to 10 breaths. To release, exhale as you slowly lower your torso, chest, and head to the floor. Relax your arms at your sides. Turn your head to the side and rest quietly.


Sphinx Pose Modifications & Variations

Sphinx Pose can be a good introductory backbend for beginners; a soothing backbend for more experienced students; and the perfect alternative to Cobra Pose for those with wrist pain. To deepen or lighten the pose, try these simple changes to find a variation that works for you:

  • If your spine and shoulders are very stiff, or if you are pregnant, try practicing Sphinx Pose while standing up instead of on the floor. Stand facing a wall; then place your forearms and palms against it. Keep your forearms shoulder-width apart. Align your elbows with your shoulders, creating a 90-degree angle between your upper and lower arms. Your chest and torso should be away from the wall, not pressed against it. Press your forearms against the wall and draw your shoulder blades into your upper back to achieve the gentle backbend.


Sphinx Pose Benefits

  • Strengthens the spine
  • Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
  • Firms the buttocks
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Helps relieve stress


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