Monday, February 3, 2014

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Morning Sphinx Pose

Find confidence and poise in Sphinx Pose, a variation of Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose, in order to stretch and strengthen the spine. Sphinx Pose encourages opening in the chest and shoulders and helps to relieve stress. Often in yoga postures, we take on the characteristics of the postures. In this particular pose, we may feel more self-assured and tenacious as we lift and broaden the chest, bringing more suppleness to the spine.

To do Sphinx Pose: Come to lie down on the belly. Bring the feet together behind you or option to leave the feet hip-width distance apart. Lengthen the tailbone towards the heels to create length in the low back. Draw the low-belly inward towards the spine, to create more support for the spine. Bring the palms under the shoulders and walk the palms forward to slide the forearms down and forward onto the ground. Align the elbows in line with the shoulders and bring the forearms parallel towards each other. Spread the fingers wide and press the entire palm and the pads of the fingers into the ground. Take a couple deep breaths here to prepare. Create smooth and even inhales and exhales.

On an inhale breath, lift the chest off of the ground. Draw the shoulders down the back and away from the ears. Lift the chest upwards, as if there was a string gently pulling the chest upwards, towards the ceiling. Again, bring attention to the low-belly, and draw it in towards the spine to encourage support for the low-back. Energetically, draw the palms and forearms down and back towards the feet and notice how the chest, neck and head appear to grow longer. Stay here and breathe, for 3 to 5 full rounds of breath, inhales and exhales.

Work to create a rhythm with the breath and notice how the body begins to soften and relax into the pose over time. Notice any tension that arises in the body, particularly in the neck, chest, shoulders and spine. Allow yourself permission to let-go of tension and tightness in the body. Notice the areas that need to be actively working in the posture, and notice where you can soften and relax to create more balance in the pose.

To come out of the pose: Gently lower the chest back down to the ground. Allow the palms to come to the sides of the body. Lower the left ear to the ground and take a moment to completely relax the body and notice how the breath begins to calm. Visualize the exhale breath moving into the spine in order to help it relax. Option to take one more round of Sphinx. If you do take one more round, when coming out of the posture, drop the opposite ear down to the ground, to encourage balance in the body.

In Sphinx Pose and spine strengtheners in general, we give one hundred percent effort and then put the same amount of mindful energy into surrendering and relaxing after the posture. It is when we can transfer this same philosophy into our daily lives that we can begin to build a better balance of work and relaxation.

Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If
a posture gives you pain, gently come out.

Namaste,
Christi Iacono, In Rhythms Yoga, Clairemont, S.D.

Christi is a certified yoga instructor that focuses on teaching adults, private lessons, and kids. She has an intimate space in Clairemont, San Diego, located in the Mount streets. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve your body. Contact christi@inrhythmsyoga.com for more info. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the class schedule and instructors.

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