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Yoga Basics: your guide to the practice of yoga
Backbending Poses arrow sphinx
salamba bhujangasana
Level of Difficutly: Beginner
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Instructions

1. Lie on your belly, with the forearms flat on the floor, elbows under the shoulders, chin on the floor and legs together.

2. Press the forearms down into the floor and inhale and lift the head and chest off of the floor, keeping the neck in line with the spine.

3. Pull up the knee caps, squeeze the thighs and buttocks, engage mula bandha, and press the pubic bone down into the floor.

4. Keep the elbows close to your sides and use the arms to lift you up even higher. Drop the shoulders down and back and press the chest forward. Draw the chin in towards the back of the neck and gaze up at the third eye point.

5. Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.

6. To release: exhale and slowly lower the chest and head to the floor. Turn the head to one side, slide the arms alongside your body and rest.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Sphinx opens the chest and strengthens the core body. Cobra aligns the spine and invigorates the kidneys and nervous system.

Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the back, arms or shoulders, pregnancy or recent abdominal surgery.

Modifications + Variations

Variations: Sphinx pose is an easier variation to Cobra.

Vinyasa

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Half Boat, Child, Caterpillar.

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose: Half Boat, Low Plank, Dolphin, Crocodile, Half Bow.