Yoga for Back Pain Relief: Sphinx Pose

One of the first backbends that you will most likely encounter while practicing yoga for back pain relief is Sphinx Pose. Although backbends are usually not the first thing that you will practice if you have a back injury, they will be necessary as you advance in your yoga practice. If you want to learn more about the importance of using backbends in yoga for back pain relief, especially lower back pain relief, then check out my recent post.

What is Sphinx Pose?

SphinxSphinx Pose is one of the most basic backbends and is great for beginners and people with chronic back pain. Since you can modify this pose as much as you need, finding the right stretch for your body is easy to do. As you continue to practice yoga for back pain relief, overtime your body will begin to loosen up and you will be able to go further into the poses while feeling less and less pain.

How to Perform Sphinx Pose

1. Start lying on your stomach with your forehead facing the ground and your legs straight behind you. Bring your big toes to touch while rotating your heels away from your body towards the ground. This rotation will protect your back and pelvis by lengthening your lower back and sacrum.

2. Make sure your feet and legs are active throughout the pose by reaching your feet towards the back of the room. This will engage your legs and thighs, lifting your knees slightly off the ground. Be careful not to squeeze your glutes too hard, though, as it will cause your lower back muscles to also become active and not receive the full benefits of the pose.

3. Bring your elbows towards your shoulders while placing your forearms and palms on the floor parallel to your body. Supporting your weight with your forearms, slowly begin to lift your chest and head off of the floor, creating a slight bend in your back.Sphinx Pose

4. Keep your gaze looking forward and your toes reaching backward as you bring your awareness to your core muscles. In order to allow your lower back muscles to completely release in this pose, slightly add a little tension to your abs to support the lower back muscles and strengthen your upper back.

5. Hold your full extension of Sphinx Pose for 5-10 breaths and then gently return back to rest your chest and head on the floor. Repeat this pose as many times as you need to feel relief in your back.

Benefits of Sphinx Pose

  • Lengthens and stretches the spine
  • Strengthens the spinal muscles
  • Releases tension in the lower back muscles
  • Stretches chest, shoulders, and abs
  • Firms the glutes
  • Massages internal organs near the abs
  • Helps relieve stress and anxiety

Practicing Yoga for Back Pain Relief

Yoga For Back Pain Relief

Yoga for back pain relief.

As mentioned before, Sphinx Pose is a relatively basic yoga pose that incorporates a backbend and should only be practiced if your back is healthy enough for it. If you are recovering from an injury due to sudden pain in your back or any other debilitating condition then you may need to first start a more rehabilitative type of yoga like yoga therapy before you are healthy enough for Sphinx Pose.

The more days that you are able to stick with it and include poses like Sphinx Pose into your yoga routine the faster you are going to find relief from your back pain. Even if it doesn’t seem like your back pain will ever get better – it will. You just have to consistently show up to your mat with the intention of getting rid of the pain for good and overtime your body will begin to heal.

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What are you doing to help find relief from your back pain?

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  1. Linda

    I have never really tried yoga but I have been experiencing a chronic issue with soreness and stiffness in my lower back for several weeks. I think the Sphinx pose is something I should add to my morning routine. I just tried it and I think being in the position brought some relief. It definitely didn’t irritate my back further so it seems worthwhile to give it a try it for a while to see if there’s improvement. Thanks for the information!

    1. yoga (Post author)

      Hi Linda
      I’m glad that you were able to try this pose and find some relief from it! You can check out some other poses on the site that are great for relieving soreness and stiffness in your lower back.
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Eddie Hoyos

    I was reading your article about back relief for the yoga pose called “Sphinx Pose” and I was very I was interested on the ways to relieve your back. I know many people who have done yoga poses like this and complain that their back hurts so this will definitely be something I would recommend to my friends that do yoga. Other articles don’t necessarily help with back relief as much as this article does. Other articles don’t know what they are talking about and people still complain about back pain.

    1. yoga (Post author)

      Hi Eddie
      I’ve struggled with chronic lower back pain for around 15 years so I hope that I am able to portray that with the information on my site and help someone else who was in my position.
      Thanks for the comment, I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. Evie

    I used to do yoga almost every day for around 30 minutes a day and found that I felt taller and fitter. I have had back trouble for a few years. Initially because I fell down a flight of stairs but over the years I have compounded this by coming off horses and then I managed to pull some ligaments putting on a sock (yes I know it sounds stupid).

    The sock pulling has caused me the most annoyance as every once in a while my back hurts and I find it difficult to move around when that happens. Whilst I was doing yoga I had very very few issues with my back. Since I have stopped doing it (the last 6 months mainly due to time) I have had some major flareups. My goal is to start yoga again this month and work back up to the daily exercises as I know that I am going to feel stiff when I start.

    1. yoga (Post author)

      Hi Evie,

      I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had so much trouble with your back issues over the years! Constantly stressing your back muscles and ligaments without properly rehabilitating them doesn’t seem like that big of a deal in the short term but years of stress can cause pain while doing even the simplest of activities overtime.

      I hope that you are able to find the time to start your yoga practice again soon. Even if you can only find the time a few times a week it is definitely better than letting the stress continue building up.

      Thanks for the comment, and I hope you find relief soon!

  4. jeffrey16201

    I am living proof yoga improves severe back pain, at one time I could not stand or sit or even walk for more than a few minutes at one time.

    I started out with stretching yoga, very easy to do and slowly but surely my back started to improve, I highly recommend gentle stretching yoga. I use Hatha yoga which is very gentle to do, I have autoimmune so I need very low impact and yoga was the only type of exercise I could even do at the beginning.

    1. yoga (Post author)

      That’s amazing how much your back pain has been reduced from practicing yoga! I was in a similar position as you – couldn’t walk or sit for an extended period of time without extreme pain – and now I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in and my low back pain is a fraction of what it used to be.

      It is very important to ease into yoga, and something I think most people don’t understand when they first start. No one who starts doing yoga to help with back pain is going to be very flexible at first, and high-impact exercises only make the pain worse so starting slow and sticking with it is the key to long-term relief.

      Thanks for sharing!


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