Sphinx Pose

Sphinx Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska


Salamba Bhujangasana (Sphinx Pose) is a gentle backbend pose that students are introduced to at the beginner level forming part of prone poses. The practice of Sphinx Pose is gentle on the lower back and forming part of the backbend yoga sequence, this pose also helps to open the chest acting as a heart opener.

Sphinx Pose is considered a base pose as sphinx pose variations can be derived from this pose.Sphinx Pose is considered a warm-up yoga pose to prepare the body for more intense yoga poses / yoga flows.

Pose Detail

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Start by lying belly-down on the earth. The legs are extended out behind you and are hip distance apart. Arms are alongside your body and the chin is resting on the earth.
Step 2
Press the tops of the feet firmly into the earth and spread the toes. This will activate the legs.
Step 3
Place the elbows on the earth in front of you. Elbows should be under your shoulders and shoulder distance apart. A great way to measure this is to bring opposite fingertips to opposite elbows.
Step 4
Once you find the correct distance between the elbows extend the forearms straight out in front of you. They should be parallel to one another. Palms of the hands are flat on the ground, the fingers are spread wide with the middle finger pointing straight forward.
Step 5
On an inhale, press firmly into the forearms and elbows. Lift your head and chest off the earth. Shine the heart through the arms. Draw the shoulders away from the ears.
Step 6
Press the pubic bone down, engage the legs firmly and draw the tailbone towards the heels.
Step 7
Roll the outer thighs down towards the earth and the inner thighs up. This will help create space in the low back.
Step 8
Soften your gaze and bring your drishti towards your third eye, the space in between the eyebrows.
Step 9
To release, gently lower your torso, chest and head to the earth on an exhale. Rest the arms alongside the body and turn your head to one side.

Benefits and Contraindications


Stabilizes the shoulders.

Myofascial release of the abdomen.

Increases tissue excursion after abdominal surgery (with guidance after 8 weeks) strengthens back musculature.

Lengthens of the abdominal wall without over-stretching the anterior hip capsule.


Recent or chronic injury to the back, arms or shoulders.



Recent abdominal surgery.

Photo poses in different angles


Roll up a towel and arrange it in a U-shape on the floor. Lie with the bottom of the U just above your pubic bone and the legs of the U under the sides of your belly to help support the belly lift.

Modifications & Variations
  • Sphinx Pose On Blocks And Bolster
  • Sphinx Pose Legs Raised Aerial
  • Sphinx Pose Elbows Strap
  • Sphinx Pose With Bolster Under Elbows
  • Sphinx Pose Variation Leg Movement
  • Cobra Pose Variation Feet Wide
  • Sphinx Pose Thread The Needle Variation
  • Sphinx Pose With Eagle Legs
  • Sphinx Pose With Bolster Under Chest
  • Sphinx Pose Bound Angle Legs Wall
Top Preparatory Poses
  • Puppy Dog Pose
  • Child Pose
  • Plank Pose
Top Follow-Up Poses
  • Cobra Pose
  • Seal Pose
  • Child Pose

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

In love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. Iana is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) who has completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification by the Yoga Alliance U.S. In addition to that, she is constantly studying and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, biomechanics, and holodynamics.