Asana of the Day: Sphinx

Today’s AOD is a beginner backbend, sphinx or ardha bhujangasana. Literally translating to “half cobra”.

Make sure you are confident with the basic, bare bones pose then sprinkle on some offbeat flavors to your sphinx.

Bare Bones Pose:


  1. Lie on your stomach with your toes glued to the floor.
  2. Walk your elbows underneath your shoulders so your forearms are parallel.
  3. Puff out your chest and press your forearms into the ground, so the shoulders are down away from the ears.
  4. Lengthen out from your lower belly, so you feel a stretch down your abdomen.
  5. Engaged, not clenching through glutes.

Offbeat Modifications:

1. Neck release:
Look side-to-side as though your spying on the person next to you. Turn your head all the way to the left and right to look over your shoulder. Very funny to watch in a group setting. Then, roll your neck in a semicircle to the left, down, and right.

sphinx arm up.png

2. Reach outs: Ready to feel completely lopsided? Keeping yourself completely stable, try reaching one hand out in front of you. Hold for 15 seconds or 5 breaths. Switch sides. You might notice one side of your back is stronger than the other!


3. Lift to seal: If you’re feeling spry with your backside, press into your palms to lift off your elbows. This will deepen the backbend. Traditionally, this is a yin pose called seal. Hold 15 seconds or 5 breaths.


4. Quad pull: For a deep backbend and quad stretch, bend your right knee and reach back with the right hand to grab the top of the foot. Shimmy your shoulder in so your elbow points to the back of the mat. Pull the foot into your glute or on the outside of the hip for a wow-ee-wow quad stretch.

What are your favorite ways to offbeat sphinx pose?

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