While specific yoga poses may prove difficult for some students, others may find these poses easy to mimic due to their wide range of variations. Some of these poses include:
Seal Pose (Bhujangasana variation), Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), Locust Pose (Salabhasana), Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), and Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana). All the poses mentioned above contain other varying poses; several poses are not listed here.
However, in this article, we'll explore the sphinx pose, how to do it, and the benefits of the sphinx pose. So, read on to learn more.
What is Sphinx Pose?
Sphinx cobra pose above, sometimes called "Salamba Bhujangasana," is a variation of cobra pose, a backbend posture in yoga that helps improve the spine's flexibility.
In the East, the name "Salamba Bhujangasana," which stands for "supported" (Salamba), "cobra" (Bhujanga), and "pose" (asana), originated from Sanskrit.
This ancient Indian language was spoken in the Indian subcontinent from around the 2nd millennium BCE until the 12th century CE.
In the west, the Sphinx pose got its English name from the ancient Egyptian statue of the sphinx located in Giza because it bears an uncanny resemblance with the mythical object.
The sphinx pose is beginner-level to help stretch and strengthen your spine. Also, it helps to take breath and open the heart, lungs, low back, and body for blood circulation.
Salamba Bhujangasana is an ideal posture for those with wrist pain, injuries, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Precautions to take before practicing sphinx pose
There are certain precautions to take before you practice the sphinx pose; these include:
- Do not practice the sphinx pose if you have a spinal injury, neck injury, or stiffness in the back.
- Do not practice the sphinx pose with a broken rib or wrist.
- Do not practice (salamba bhujangasana) sphinx pose if you've had any recent abdominal surgery.
- Pregnant women are advised to avoid practicing the sphinx yoga pose.
How to Perform the Sphinx Pose
Here are steps you can take towards practicing the sphinx pose on your mat:
- Lie on your stomach with your chin broad and away from the chest
- After adequately placing your yoga mat on the ground, you can start by positioning your body face-downwards with your belly touching the floor or mat beneath you.
- Also, you can engage the lower abdomen and pelvic floor muscles to tilt the pelvis forward and press the front of the hips down towards the ground, as if you are trying to lengthen your lower back and stretch the muscles of the abdomen. Lastly, extend your legs behind you and your arms at your sides.
- Place your elbows directly beneath your shoulders, with your forearms and palms flat on the mat.
- Press your forearms and palms into the ground as you lift your chest and head off the mat, keeping your neck relaxed and your shoulders down.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows close to your body. Keep your elbows close to your upper body and engage your core muscles to lengthen your spine and prevent your lower back from sagging.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing deeply and evenly. Remember that this yoga practice stretches the hips, chest, and psoas muscles easily, so ensure that you are relaxed.
- Slowly lower your chest and head back down to the mat to release the pose, gently easing your back end.
Before doing salamba bhujangasana, you can practice sitting in a preparatory pose like Phalakasana (Plank Pose) to strengthen the body's arm, wrist, and vertebral column. The Sphinx pose is also a tremendous pre-backbend stance because it allows for deeper backbends.
Benefits of Sphinx Pose
The sphinx pose is an ideal backend yoga posture for most beginners, as it helps relax the pelvic bone and the upper parts of the body, especially the chest and shoulder blades.
Here are some key benefits of the backbend practice sphinx pose below.
Stretch and Strengthens the body
As a beginner, the sphinx pose comes with many benefits. And one such advantage is that it helps stretch and strengthen the spine, your abdominal muscles, your back, and your arms.
Also, it helps to lift and extend the chest and the shoulders and assists in tightening all the parts surrounding the gluteus muscles.
Enhances Blood Circulation and the nervous system
Another key benefit of the sphinx pose is that it aids blood flow around the body, as it stretches your back muscles and activates the joints in your feet, hips, pubic bone, spine, rib cage, shoulders, elbows, and neck.
Also, practicing the sphinx pose helps improve the performance of your nervous system overall.
Enhances Posture and Toning
The sphinx pose helps you to maintain your posture. While you practicing sphinx pose during your yoga sessions, did you ever notice an improvement in the posture of your spine?
This may be due to the effects of the sphinx pose. Sphinx yoga pose helps maintain the natural curve of the lower and upper back.
In addition, it stretches the arms, shoulders, and chest and helps build strong muscles in the pelvis and abdomen.
Therapy for Back and Neck pain
Yogis understand that the sphinx yoga pose helps mitigate the painful effects of back and neck pains.
Also, it helps reduce pain felt in the hips, buttocks or head when you turn your neck to release tension.
Help stimulate Internal organs
Certain sphinx poses help stimulate the heart forward digestive organs. Also, stretching the upper abdominal organs and the chest region of the body may improve the digestive system and breathing.
An excellent pre-workout stretch
For many deep backbend prone poses, the sphinx pose can be a preparatory pose before more challenging poses like Dhanurasana (Bow pose) and Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana).
It helps relieve stress and fatigue
Lastly, the sphinx pose can ease stress and fatigue by opening the lower back and psoas muscle. Also, it helps release tiredness from the legs and body when done right before going to bed.
Sphinx pose is a beginner-level yoga backbend that stretches and strengthens the spine, improves blood circulation, and opens the heart and lungs. It's called "Salamba Bhujangasana" in Sanskrit and resembles the Sphinx statue.
Generally, in yoga practice, precautions should be taken for those with spinal, neck, or wrist injuries, broken ribs, recent abdominal surgery, or pregnancy. The yoga pose involves lying face-down, placing the forearms and elbows under the shoulders, and lifting the chest and head.
Benefits include stretching and strengthening your upper body and torso, improving posture, providing therapy for pain, stimulating organs, and acting as a pre-workout for deeper backbends.