Yoga Pose Primer: Sphinx Pose Tutorial (Salamba Bhujangasana)

Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana) is a seemingly simple yoga pose, but there are many important points of alignment in this posture, which many people miss. These points are important, however, because they help prepare your body for more challenging yoga backbends.

Enjoy this yoga tutorial with master yoga teacher, Natasha Rizopoulos on how facilitate perfect positioning and alignment in Sphinx Pose.

Step by Step Yoga Pose Primer for Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)

  1. Keep the elbows slightly ahead of the shoulders and pinned into the midline to counteract the  natural tendency for the elbow to splay. If the elbows splay out to the side, it creates an internal rotation in the shoulders which is counterproductive for the chest-opening and back-bending action of the pose.
  2. Push the elbows into the floor to lift up through your shoulders and engage the serratus anterior muscle.
  3. Keep the ankles engaged towards the midline, so your feet don’t bow out or sickle. To accomplish this, stretch your big toes straight back and firm your outer ankles in. As you firm your outer ankles in, spin your inner thighs to the ceiling. This can be an important action throughout the practice to maintain the width, and the breadth, across the lower back.
  4. Use the strength of your arms to pull your chest through the gateway of your arms, mobilizing your upper back, and finding that openness and length in the front of each shoulder. To keep the back of your neck long, lead with your sternum, rather than your chin.

Yoga Video: Sphinx Pose to Upward-Facing Dog Pose

Sphinx pose is a great preparation for Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, (Upward-Facing Dog Pose). In the online yoga tutorial below, practice along with Natasha as she shows how to achieve correct alignment in Sphinx Pose and how to carry this alignment into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana.

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