This week’s yoga stance is called ‘sphinx pose’ and is a great way to lengthen your spine. Lori Whitby of Slave Lake Smiling Dog Yoga says begin by lying on your stomach with your arms out in front of you.
“Bend the elbows and draw them back along the earth until they rest directly under the shoulders,” she says. “Place the forearms parallel to each other and widen across the shoulders. Gently press the elbows into the ground and glide the shoulder blades down the back to avoid ‘sinking’ into the shoulders. Gently lengthen the head forward in line with the spine. Softly press the hips and thighs into the earth, keeping the buttocks soft.”
Whitby adds, “Hold this pose from three to 10 breaths, then exhale as you slowly lower your stomach, chest then head to the floor in a slow wave. Place your forehead on the ground or turn your head to one side and rest quietly for a couple of breaths as you release any lingering tension.”
Place a bolster or a cushion under your chest for support.
If having the elbows under the shoulders is too much of a backbend, place your hands under your shoulders and press your chest up half as high.
Creates a gentle lengthening of the spine and helps with shoulder alignment by strengthening the lower trapezius muscles. Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen. Stimulates abdominal organs and helps relieve stress.
If you have back pain, please approach this pose with care and stop when you feel pain.