Sphinx

yoga sphinx pose, nude human man figure

Extend your back.

Many of us spend too much time sitting with your shoulders and necks rounded forward, often as we hold still looking at something. The rounding forward becomes an ingrained pattern that leads to discomfort.

We can do things about that pattern. You can use this very stable and well supported pose to reshape how you use your back.

Before

You want your stomach and your bladder empty.

Cat-cow goes well before sphinx pose.

Align

Lie face down on the mat and prop yourself up with your upper arms vertical, your elbows under your shoulders.

You can curve your back less by moving your elbows away from your hips.

Put your legs straight back.

Engage

You can just rest into this pose and feel moving your shoulder blades around.

You can also use the stability and support of this pose to engage muscle groups and reshape how you use your back.

Repetition and duration do the work, not how hard you pull. Do it again tomorrow rather than doing it harder today.

  • Pull and hold your shoulder blades together, relax slowly and repeat
  • Pull and hold your shoulder blades toward your butt, relax slowly and repeat
  • Pull your elbows toward your butt, without moving them, hold, relax slowly and repeat
  • Lift your back away from your elbows, hold, relax slowly and repeat
  • Slowly shift from side to side on your elbows
  • Put one arm behind your back, hold, then do the other side, and repeat
  • Allow your ribs to slowly sink toward the mat, feel your torso hang between your shoulders, sink into it, hold, then come back up slowly and repeat
  • Press your pelvis, your pubic bone, into the mat, hold, relax slowly and repeat
  • Rock your pelvis against the mat
  • Lift your abdomen away from the mat but keep your pelvis on the mat, hold, relax slowly and repeat
  • Rotate the back of your thighs away from each other, hold, relax slowly and repeat
  • Lift a leg off the mat, hold, relax slowly, do the other side, and repeat
  • Rest: put your arms down and put your head down on your arms

There’s a lot here. It is an extremely useful pose. Play and explore gently. You can easily and usefully spend many minutes in this pose, but don’t linger long. It’s an unfamiliar position and staying it long would lead to discomfort. Come back tomorrow.

Gaze

Look at the mat or look at your fingers. Do not tilt your head back.

After

You want to use child’s pose to let your back relax after the unfamiliar position of sphinx pose.

Caution

This is a very stable and well supported pose, but an unfamiliar position held too long, or unfamiliar use of muscles done too firm will cause discomfort. Go slow and gentle. Come back tomorrow and do more. This pose done gently for a few minutes daily can reshape your posture, but this pose done with force you will regret.