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Sphinx pose is the most gentle backbend. This pose can improve posture by counteracting the damage from “hunched” shoulders.
It stretches the front of the body, including stretching tight hip flexors, and stimulates the abdominal organs, which can improve digestion.
This pose can be practiced after some gentle Cat and Cow Pose to bring some movement to your back.
~Lie on your belly. Prop yourself up so that your elbows are under your shoulders. Take a breath here and notice how this feels on your lower back. If it too intense, then walk your hands out a little further.
~Bring your legs together and check to see if the tops of your feet are resting on the floor. If they are sickled (feet flopping out or in), then place a rolled up blanket underneath of them.
~Open your chest by bringing your shoulder blades a little closer together.
~Stay here taking full deep breaths for 1 minute.
~When you finish, lay flat on your belly, resting on one cheek and take a couple breaths, resting your back in a neutral position.
If it feels challenging to hold yourself up on your elbows, then place a rolled up blanket under your lower rib cage.
NOTE: This pose should not be practiced if you are pregnant or have just recently had abdominal surgery.