Sphinx pose is a good introductory backbend for beginners and a calming backbend for experienced students. It is a preparatory pose for cobra pose or an alternative to it for practitioners with wrist or lower back pain.
This pose expands the lungs, stimulates the abdominal organs and digestive system, and improves blood circulation. It warms the spine, rejuvenates the natural curve of the lower back and relieves the body of stress. Sphinx pose firms the buttocks, invigorates the body and soothes the nervous system. It is also therapeutic for fatigue.
Pregnant women and practitioners with stiff shoulders or spines should avoid practicing this pose on the floor. It can be practiced standing up against the wall instead. The forearms and palms are pressed against the wall, and shoulder blades are drawn into the upper back to achieve a gentle backbend.