written by
Joel Runyon
last updated
June 24, 2021

Another yoga-derived stretch, the Sphinx pose is a gentler version of the Upward Facing Dog. Since the forearms take the brunt of your upper body’s weight, it’s great for beginners who don’t yet have the requisite strength in their wrists and shoulders to raise their entire body off the floor, and it’s far less stressful on the spinal column if you’re experiencing any issues there. The Sphinx pose is a nice, subtle backbend that will provide a good stretch to your chest, diaphragm, and lower back.

If you’re someone who sits hunched forward for long periods of time at a desk, the benefits to your lower back should be felt immediately as it realigns the natural curve of the spine that has been compressed in a chair all day long. You’ll find a noticeable improvement in your posture if you perform this stretch on a regular basis. As you hold the position, remember to focus on your breathing as well, letting your belly rise and fall. Most find the Sphinx position, when combined with steady breathing, to have a quite calming effect both physically and mentally.

How to perform the Sphinx

lying sphinx stretch demo

Find a mat or a comfortable area.

Lie down on your belly with your legs extended all the way out and the top of your toes resting against the floor. The palms of your hands should be flat against the mat and just under your shoulders as if you were going to do a pushup.

While keeping your lower body and pelvis pressed against the floor, press against the ground with your forearms and palms to slowly raise your chest up with your eyes facing forward. Your two forearms should be parallel to each other and you should now feel a good stretch in your spine as your back bends. Stop if you feel any pain.

Hold this position for 30 seconds and focus on rhythmic deep breathing.

Sphinx movement video demonstration

written by
Joel Runyon

Joel is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE and the founder of MoveWell. Joel founded MoveWell after sustaining an injury while running an ultra marathon on every continent. Joel is writes about mobility, pain management and health and wellness overall.

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