Sphinx Pose

How to Do Sphinx Pose
Sphinx Pose. Ann Pizer

Type of Pose: Backbend, prone

Benefits: Improves spinal mobility, stretches the muscles on your back

Sphinx pose is one of our recommended yoga stretches for the lower back. It's a textbook physical therapy exercise called the prone prop that is used to treat low back pain. Keep in mind that while gentle spinal extension is good for some causes of back pain, particularly when the pain stems from bulging disks, it's not recommended when the pain come from other sources so it's critical to get a diagnosis and doctor's opinion before starting any treatment routine.


If you don't have back pain and want to keep it that way, sphinx is a really good way to work on your spinal range of motion while stretching your back.


  1. Begin by lying flat on your stomach.
  2. Lift your torso by bringing your elbows directly under your shoulders with your forearms flat on the floor. Keep the forearms parallel to one another.
  3. Press the palms of your hands and your forearms firmly into the mat while sliding your shoulders away from your ears.
  4. Keep your leg muscles engaged and the tops of your feet pressing into the mat. The feet should be about hips' distance apart.
  5. Hold for five to ten breaths.

Beginners' Tips:

Pay special attention to the position of your shoulders. If they are hunched up by your ears, you're not getting the full benefits of the pose. Relax the shoulders, letting your shoulder blades slide down your back.

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