Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Archive for October 31st, 2013

Regal Pose

Posted by terrepruitt on October 31, 2013

Sometimes in Nia we do yoga poses, I have yet to do the sphinx in a Nia class, but I do include it in the Gentle Yoga class I am teaching.  I think of it as a nice gently backbend.  I think of it as a regal pose.  I think of it as a spine lengthener and a back strengthener.  I like the Sphinx Pose.

Although, according to Wiki, the Sphinx is not nice:

“A sphinx is a mythical creature with, as a minimum, the body of a lion and a human head.  In Greek tradition, it has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and the face of a woman. She is mythicised as treacherous and merciless. Those who cannot answer her riddle suffer a fate typical in such mythological stories . . . ”

Ha, I think I will stick with the idea of regal.

The Sphinx Pose is another prone pose, where you are lying on your belly.  Your legs are together, touching, and straight out behind your body.  Start face down, with your arms stretched out on the ground above you, as if you are reaching above your head.  Before bending back, gently press your pelvis towards the earth, lengthening your tailbone towards your feet.  As you lift your head and chest up off the ground, bring your arms back.  Stop when your elbows are directly underneath your shoulders.  Or you can bring your hands up by your ears and gently push up into the backbend.  Adjusting your hands so that your elbows are directly under your shoulders.  You are resting on your elbows and forearms, palms down, fingers together.

Continue to keep your legs together, while your toes are reaching toward the opposite wall/direction.  Your back is active, while your arms are supportive.  Reach with your chest somewhat upward and open.  Your shoulders are back and your shoulder blades are pressing gently toward the earth.

Your gaze is forward and your posture is regal.  You are strong and confident.  Breathe into the pose.  Hands, arms, neck, back, and legs are all active yet not tightly clenched.

Stay for a few breaths or as long as your practice dictates.  Release and lower to the floor, allowing your head to turn to the side.  Rest your head on your hands and repeat as desired.

This is a nice gently backbend that can be the next backbend after learning the locust pose, if your practice is one in which you are progressing from a small backbend to a “bigger” backbend.  These (the Locust Post and the Sphinx Pose) can be preludes to the Cobra and the Upward Facing Dog.  Of course, this is a great pose to practice even if you are already doing the other backbends.

This pose is great to help strengthen the muscles in the back.

If necessary a rolled towel can be placed under your pubic bone in the shape of a U to provide cushion.  The U would be “hugging the belly”.

Do you have backbends in your practice?  Is sphinx one that you do?  What backbends do you practice?

Some Benefits Of Doing Back Bends

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