Ardha means half. Bhujanga means cobra. The direct translation from Sanskrit is half cobra pose as this pose is essentially a variation of cobra.
Mythologically, the Sphinx is a creature with the head of a human and the body of an animal (most commonly a lion). In Greek mythology, the head is the head of a woman, the daughter of Typhon. In ancient Egyptian mythology, it is the head of a man. The sphinx is also a symbol of royal power and the guardian of temples.
Benefits of Sphinx Pose
- Stretches the muscles on the front side of the body, releasing physical tension.
- Stretches and detoxifies the lymph nodes in the groin, giving a boost to the immune system.
- Massages the internal organs, aiding digestion and elimination.
- Sphinx pose should be avoided during pregnancy.
- People with neck injury or pain may need to practice Sphinx pose with modifications.
- Lie prone. Breathe into your belly and notice the connection between the front side of your body and the earth.
- Place your elbows underneath your shoulders.
- Bring your forearms parallel to each other with the fingertips pointing away from you.
- Feel the weight evenly distributed on your forearms and palms.
- Inhale and engage your gluteal muscles to lift your head, neck, shoulders, chest, and elbows from the ground (in that order). Articulate the spine from the top of the cervical spine to the thoracic spine.
- Use the breath to create space between your vertebrae.
- Inhale into your torso, pelvis, lower back, and legs.
- Reach the crown of your head away from your toes, lengthening your neck and extending your spine a little more.
- Feel your breastbone reach forward on each inhale, bringing the neck in line with the rest of the spine.
- Continue to lengthen the crown of your head away from your toes.
- Enjoy a sense of expansion on all sides of your body.
- Breathe deeply and visualize a nourishing fluid saturating the discs of your spine.
- Slide the hands forward and exhale as you gently lower your torso (from the thoracic to the cervical spine) onto the mat.
- Rest your forehead with the backs of your hands or turn your head to the side and rest your cheek onto the mat.