Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
The Sphinx Pose is a gentle back bend that helps to lengthen the spine, strengthen the upper back, open up the chest and strengthen the nervous system. It is a very good pose in its own right and can also be used as a preparatory pose before performing deeper back bends, such as the Cobra.
- Lie down on your stomach with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders.
- Have the forearms parallel to each other and facing forwards, with the fingers spread reasonably wide down on the mat. If you wish to protect your elbows then an alternative method is to clutch your fingers to form fists with your thumbs pointing upwards.
- Relax the stomach, abdomen, hips and legs all the way down to the toes, but lightly engage the buttock muscles to encourage your tailbone to press downwards.
- Lift the head and neck up, away from the shoulders. You can also lift the chin diagonally upwards to increase the stretch in the neck area.
- Push the chest forward, particularly the area around the bottom ribs and in front of the shoulder-blades.
- Rest in Child Pose as a counter-pose to this backbend.
- The Sphinx is a good pose to prepare you for deeper backbends, such as the Cobra and Upward Facing Dog.