March is my least favorite month. There, I said it. One day it’s 60 degrees and sunny and the next it’s a high of 32. Even when it’s sunny it seems there’s a vicious wind making you wish you hadn’t left your scarf at home. Here in the North, at least, March is one bumpy ride. Luckily, there’s one yoga pose that, practiced regularly, can help make that ride feel more like waterskiing than riding a bucking horse.
Sphinx pose restores the curve in your lower spine, which tends to flatten when you sit all day. You want to take steps to keep that curve nice and curvy because is a natural shock absorber – it helps you keep on keepin’ on when you hit physical and metaphorical speed bumps.
The other major benefit of sphinx is that it opens and lifts the chest, meaning your lungs and heart both have a little more space to function. Breath and blood–two pretty important things to have plenty of, wouldn’t you agree? And on an emotional level, an open chest encourages an open heart, which fosters hopefulness and wards off depression. Tell me, who doesn’t need this at this point in history?
Finally, because sphinx requires you to lie on the ground, it helps you connect to the earth—considered to be a major source of power and energy in pretty much every major mind-body tradition—and feel supported.
You can do sphinx pose while you’re watching TV. Or between the time when you turn off the TV and when you get in bed. You can even do it in bed (it’s a great way to get ready to face the world in the morning). But no matter where or when you practice it, doing it once a day during a time of transition can help you stay nimble and grounded.
Here’s how to do it:
- Lie on the floor on your stomach with your feet shoulder distance apart and tops of the feet resting on the floor.
- Prop your torso up on your forearms with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders. Keep both forearms and all ten fingers pointing directly forward.
- Lift the top of your head up, keeping your chin level to the floor. Look straight ahead at the horizon.
- Draw your shoulder blades toward each other gently and expand your chest forward.
- Stay at least five deep breaths and as long as two minutes.
- To come out, lower your torso and head to the floor. Rest your arms by your sides and turn your head to one side. Stay a few breaths, then push your booty back to your heels and rest in child’s pose for a few more breaths.
What’s helping you stay hopeful these days?
Take care and keep breathing,