Sphinx Pose - Salamba Bhujangasana

Sphinx Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska


Sphinx Pose or Salamba Bhujangasana in Sanskrit (salamba, meaning “supported,” bhujanga, meaning “cobra,” and asana, meaning “pose”) is a gentle backbend suitable for most beginners. It lengthens the abdominal muscles, strengthens the spine, and firms the buttocks. It also stretches and opens the chest, lungs, and shoulders. It invigorates the body, soothes the nervous system, and is also therapeutic for fatigue.

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.
  • If you have a lot of stiffness or soreness in your neck and shoulders or are pregnant, you can stand against a wall and press your forearms into it. Stand close to the wall, and mimic the heart-opening and back-bending posture you would have if you did the pose on your yoga mat.

Frequently Asked Questions


  • Sphinx Pose On Blocks And Bolster
  • Sphinx Pose Elbows Strap
  • Sphinx Pose With Bolster Under Elbows
  • Sphinx Pose Against A Wall

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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.