Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing and teaching yoga for life.

Sphinx Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Called the "infant of the backbend family," Sphinx Pose is one of the very first backbends you can learn before moving on to learn the full Cobra Pose and the other more-challenging backbends. Some people practice a passive version of this pose as part of yoga therapy for the back by using a rolled up towel for support, as described under the section labelled "Beginner's Tip."

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits

Ardha Bhujangasana

(Pronounced as "are-dah boo-jun-GAHS-anna")

Its Sanskrit name Ardha Bhujangasana literally translates into "half of the cobra pose."

How to do Sphinx Pose

Step One

Lie face downward on your yoga mat. Put your feet together. Straighten your legs and point your toes behind you. While you're still lying down, press your palms into the floor underneath your shoulders. Tuck your tailbone in firmly toward your pelvis to protect your lower back from excessive strain before you come up. Make sure your knees are touching each other by rolling your thighs slightly in toward each other.

Step Two

Take a breath as you inhale and push your torso up with your hands. Lengthen your tailbone out behind you and keep tucking it in at all times. Activate your back muscles to help hold yourself up and lift your sternum.

Step Three

Adjust your elbows so that they are directly below your shoulders. The bottoms of your forearms, elbows and hands press into the mat and remain parallel to each other. Lengthen your neck to stretch your head up so that your shoulders do not crunch up around your neck.

Step Four

Now pull your belly in slightly. Visualize stretching and elongating every muscle from your pubic bone all the way up through the front of your chest to your neck. Hold yourself up enough that you could draw an imaginary vertical line from the crown of your head through the middle of your neck and down through the center of your chest.

Step Five

Breathe at a normal rate, holding this posture for up to 10 breaths. To come out of the pose, exhale as you slowly lower your head and torso back down to the mat.

Beginner's Tip:

Roll up a small towel and place it right at the bottom of your ribcage. As you lay on top of the towel and do the pose, the towel will help support the extension of the muscles in your front body.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:

Ardha Bhujangasana

Pose Level

Level 1

Contraindications and Cautions:

  1. Recent or severe back injuries
  2. Headaches related to excessive neck and shoulder strain
  3. Pregnancy
  4. Menstruation


  • Aids in realigning spinal discs
  • Increases back strength
  • Expands the chest
  • Tones the buttocks, thighs and abdominal organs
  • Improves digestion
  • Boosts energy levels

Next Pose:

Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose

9 styles | 152 poses

Beginner Yoga Poses

Bharadvaja's Twist Pose
Big Toe Pose
Boat Pose
Bound Angle Pose
Bow Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Cat Pose
Chair Pose
Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
Corpse Pose
Cow Pose
Cow Face Pose
Crow Pose
Dolphin Plank Pose
Downward Dog Pose
Eagle Pose
Eight Angle Pose
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Side Angle Pose
Firefly Pose
Fish Pose
Garland Pose
Half Frog Pose
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Half Moon Pose
Yoga Handstand
Happy Baby Pose
Head To Knee Pose
High Lunge Pose
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Locust Pose
Lotus Pose
Shoulder Pressing Pose
Low Lunge Pose
Monkey Pose
Mountain Pose
Noose Pose
Plank Pose
Plow Pose
Sage Koundinya I Pose
Sage Marichi's Pose
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Revolved Triangle Pose
Revolved Head to Knee Pose
Reclining Hero Pose
Scale Pose
Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Peacock Pose
Pyramid Pose
Crescent Lunge Pose
Heron Pose
Hero Pose
Feathered Peacock Pose
Staff Pose
Seated Forward Bend Pose
Four Limbed Staff Pose
Revolved Side Angle Pose
Wild Thing Pose
Side Crow Pose
Side Plank Pose
Sphinx Pose
Supported Headstand (Sirsasana)
Tree Pose
Standing Split
Supported Shoulderstand
Standing Half Forward Bend
Triangle Pose
Upward Plank Pose
Upward Facing Two Foot Staff Pose
Wheel Pose
Upward Salute Pose
Upward Facing Dog Pose
Warrior I Pose
Warrior II Pose
Warrior III Pose
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Easy Pose
Gate Pose
Wide Legged Forward Fold
Dancer Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II
Marichi's Pose
Fire Log Pose
Standing Forward Bend
Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II

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