Sphinx Pose  -Salamba Bhujangasana

Step by step

  • Lying down on your abdomen, arrange your shoulders over your elbows

  • Bring the shoulders back away from your neck, shoulder blades sliding down your back and feel a subtle lift in the breast bones

  • Breathe in your lower back and abdomen

  • To come out of the pose, bring your elbows to the sides and rest your forehead over your hands

Beginners' tips

  • Take your time in this backbend. Only go as far as feels comfortable. Keep your belly pulled in and up, and the lower back long. Maintain the connection between your hips and the floor.
  • Keep an eye on your shoulders - keep them away from your ears and the base of the neck relaxed.
  • Point your elbows backwards rather than out to the sides.

Benefits

  • Strengthens legs, upper back, arms and shoulders
  • Stretches the front of the body including the abdomen and hip flexors
  • Can help to mobilise the lower back

Watch out for

  • This pose should be avoided if you are pregnant. 
  • You may feel some compression in the lower back but if you experience any sharp pain or pinching then come out of the pose.
  • Seek medical advice if you have any back injuries such as disc problems before practising yoga. Ask if backbends, forward bends or twists are suitable for your body.

Variations

  • You can get a stronger backbend by walking your hands slightly closer towards you, straightening the arms. This is Seal pose variation.