Definition - What does Sphinx Pose mean?
Sphinx pose is a beginner's backbend that's accessible to most yoga practitioners. This pose strengthens the spine while stretching the chest, shoulders, stomach and the front of the heart.
To enter this pose, the practitioner lies down on the belly with the legs extended as though preparing for cobra pose. The forearms are placed on the floor, parallel to each other, with the middle fingers pointing directly forward. The chest and head are lifted off the floor while the pubic bone is pressed down. The shoulder blades press into the back, stretching the spine while the chest pushes forward.
Sphinx pose may also be referred to by its Sanskrit name, salamba bhujangasana.
Yogapedia explains Sphinx Pose
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.