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Sphinx Pose

Back bend that helps increase your lung capacity.

Sphinx Pose is a basic back bend that helps to develop strength and flexibility in your spine and back, with an emphasis on your lower back. You can use this pose to open your chest to help increase your lung capacity.
This pose is also useful for stimulating your nervous system to energize your body.
As you perform this pose, try to focus on the way your body feels. Developing an awareness of your body in Sphinx Pose can help you learn how to perform other back bends correctly. This pose can also help you build the strength and flexibility in your back and spine that you need to perform more difficult back bends, such as Cobra Pose.
While performing Sphinx Pose, make sure your elbows are directly under your shoulders. You should also focus on lifting through your chest as your forearms support your upper body.
Avoid performing Sphinx Pose if you have back, arm or shoulder problems.
Lie face down with your legs extended behind you and your feet hip width apart. Rest the top of your feet on the floor.
Stretch your arms straight in front of you, with your palms facing down.
Rest your forehead on the floor.
Bend your elbows and slide your hands back toward you.
(Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders and your forearms should be flat on the floor.)
Spread your fingers out, with your middle fingers pointing straight ahead.
Lift your chest forward. Feel your chest opening and expanding with each breath.
Exhale as you gently press your hips and pelvis into the floor.
(Make sure you keep your hips and pelvis pressed to the floor throughout the pose, but do not squeeze your buttocks.)
(Make sure you maintain length through your neck and keep your shoulders back and down as you lengthen your spine.)
Point the crown of your head toward the ceiling and gaze straight ahead.
(Visualize the long, even curve of your spine as you rest, like the Sphinx, in the desert sand.)
Hold the pose for 15 seconds to 1 minute.
(After performing Sphinx Pose, you should perform a forward bend, such as Child's Pose, to release your lower back.)
What should I do if my lower back feels strained in Sphinx Pose?
To reduce the strain in your lower back, place a folded blanket under your abdomen, just above your pubic bone. As you perform the pose, your pubic bone should still be able to rest on the floor. This modification also helps you lift your upper body into the pose.
How can I stretch my neck in Sphinx Pose?
As you hold the pose, you can perform a neck stretch. Keeping the crown of your head pointing toward the ceiling, turn your head to the right and look over your right shoulder for 5 to 10 seconds. Then turn your head to the left and look over your left shoulder for another 5 to 10 seconds.
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