Supine Poses

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Bridge Pose

Dvipada Pitham (Two-Footed Pose) View

This asana is great for practicing coordinating the breath with movement. Knees bent, feet pushing firmly on the mat, raise the arms and hips together as you inhale. (Be careful not to compress the neck, use your shoulders as a base & tuck the chin before rising) Coordinate the arms, hips, and the breath.
Gently bring the arms and spine down one vertebra at at time with the exhale. Repeat 6 times.

Benefits: Stimulates the hips, tones back muscles, stretches the spine, strengthens the legs
Contraindications: Neck injury

              

pelvic tiltPelvic Tilts View

pelvic tilt

       

 

Half Wheel Pose

Half Wheel Pose (Bada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) View

Lay on your back, arms along sides, palms down. Bend knees, place feet flat on mat. Walk feet as close to buttocks as comfortably possible. Turn heels out slightly (outside edges of feet parallel with edges of mat. Thighs parallel, ground feet and palms down and lift hips. Keep knees directly over ankles. Wrap hands around ankles OR Clasp hands below pelvis and extend through arms. Rock from side to side and pull your shoulder blades together. Hold posture for five deep breaths or longer. Gently lower hips down to mat. Counter-pose by hugging knees to chest to release lower back.
Benefits: increases flexibility of spine, deeply stretches chest, shoulders, and back of neck. stimulates thyroid gland, abdominal organs, improves digestion, reduces fatigue, anxiety, stress, headache and insomnia. Has both a calming and energetic effect on the body and mind.

Contraindications: Neck injury
Modifications: Easier: place a block under sacrum, let your sacrum rest on block. Advanced: Try lifting one leg at a time to the ceiling.

 

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) View


Lay on your back. Bend knees, soles of the feet parallel on mat, as close to buttocks as possible. Inhale. On exhale press feet and arms into mat, lift the hips up towards the ceiling. Keep thighs and feet parallel. Clasp the hands under back, straighten arms. Roll one shoulder under and then the other, bringing shoulder blades together for support. Lift the hips higher. Draw the chest up toward the chin. Stay in the pose 30-60 seconds. Unclasp hands. Exhale rolling the spine slowly down onto mat one vertebra at a time. Relax, let knees knock together.

Benefits: calms the mind and relieves insomnia, strengthens/stretches neck and spine, opens chest, stimulates thyroid. Relieves menopausal and menstral symptoms. Aids digestion. Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis
Contraindications: Neck injury
For a restorative variation try supported bridge: place block under lower back (sacrum), rest on block.

 

Reverse Table

Tabletop (Reverse Table) Half Upward Plank Pose View


Also known as Crab Pose (Catuspadapitham). Begin in seated position, knees bent, feet flat on floor (hip-width apart), palms down by sides, fingers facing forward. Inhale, press down through heels, lift hips until spine is perpendicular with floor. Look straight up, keeping head and neck in line with the spine. Engage gluteals, continue lifting hips. Hold for 3 to 5 deep breathes. Repeat 2 or 3 times.

Benefits: Opens chest and shoulders. Strengthens, tones core and gluteal muscles. Stretches hamstrings.
Contraindications: Neck, shoulder, or wrist injuries.
Modifications: For wrist discomfort, make fists and place knuckles down. For neck fatigue, look forward rather than up toward the sky.

 

upward plankPurvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose) View


From staff pose, place hands down behind hips, fingertips pointing towards your feet. (If that is not possible, place them in a tolerable position). Bend your knees, place feet on the floor, hip-width apart.
Exhale, push through hands and feet, lifting hips up and straighten your arms. Slowly straighten one leg and then the other, pointing your toes. Engage core muscles and pelvic floor lifting hips as high as possible. Keep legs strong, glutes firm, roll shoulders back lifting the chest. Being careful with the neck, gently let your head hang back. If there is neck injury or discomfort, look upward, shoulders away from ears, rater than hanging head back. Upward Plank Pose is a counter pose for Seated Forward Bend Pose. 

Benefits: Stretches chest, shoulders, neck and biceps. Strengthens wrists, arms, glutes and hamstrings.
Contraindications: Use caution or avoid if there are neck or wrist injuries.

 

 

Fish Pose

Fish Pose (Matsyasana) View


Lay back on mat, both knees bent, feet flat on mat. Arms by sides, palms down. Lift hips to allow thumb and first few fingers underneath and place hips back down. Bend elbows, keeping hands under hips. Press down with forearms, lifting body from mat. Let pelvis lean into sitting bones, increasing the natural curve of lower back. Guide heart up and back, creating a back bend. Lengthen and arch the spine. Extend neck, reaching from crown. Allow back or top of head to touch floor (you may use props if head will not comfortable reach floor). Back muscles are supporting the body, the head is used for balance, not support. You should not feel any discomfort in your low back or neck. Breathe slowly and deeply in this position for 30 seconds to a minute. Come out, draw low belly in to activate core, press into forearms, gently lift head. Tuck chin softly. Exhale and lie back on the mat.
There are 3 alternative leg positions: straight out on mat, knees bent, or cross legged.

Benefits: Opens chest, hips front of neck, and abdomen. Improves the quality of breathing. Relieves back tension. Strengthens back and neck muscles.
Contraindications: uncontrolled High Blood Pressure, glaucoma
Modifications: 1) To minimize work of back muscles use a bolster or rolled blankets placed below shoulder blades along spine. Gently lie back, allowing head to come into gentle contact with floor. (See resorative poses)
2) To avoid neck strain, place a block or folded blanket under head near base of skull. Enter pose and then allow head to rest on prop rather than floor.

 

head to knee poseKnees to Chest Pose (Apanasana)or (Supta Balasana) View

Begin on your back, with arms and legs extended. Exhale, draw your knees to your chest and clasp your hands around them. Softly rock backward and forward or side-to-side for a gentle spinal massage. Gently tuck your chin, gazing toward your navel. Hold for several breaths or up to one minute, keep breaths smooth and even. Release and extend arms and legs along the floor with an exhale and rest. Repeat as desired.

Modification: If it is difficult to get your hands clasped, draw knees slightly to the sides of your body, toward the armpits. Hold onto your shins with each hand. A yoga strap can also be used around the soles of the feet with knees bent, drawing the knees in closer. Benefits: Aids digestion, relieves bloating, constipation. Keeps lower back limber. Calms the mind. Contraindications: abdominal surgery, hernia, spinal, knee, hip injury, pregnancy after 1st trimester.

 

 

Happy Baby Pose

Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)View

Lie on your back, draw knees to chest. Open knees, bringing them toward armpits. Stack each ankle over knees, shins perpendicular to floor. Flex feet. Grab hold of outside edges of each foot.

Modifications: Hold inside arches of feet or ankles. Place blanket under neck.
Benefits: Opens and stretches the hips and groin, Lengthens,helps realign the spine, calms the mind, relieves stress
Contraindications: pregnancy, knee or ankle injuries, extremely tight hips

 

Eye of the Needle

Reclined Pigeon Pose or Thread the Needle Pose (Sucirandhrasana) View

Lie on back, knees bent and soles of feet on the floor. Breathe deeply, let the body relax into the mat. Cross left ankle over right knee. You can stay in this position if you have tight hips, or draw bent knee toward chest for a deeper stretch. Bring both hands to right shin, lifting your right foot off the floor and threading left hand through your legs. Using your hands, draw right thigh toward chest. Left hip opens. If this reach through the hole, around the knee is not possible, clasp hands together around top of right knee. Try not to lift head and shoulders off of mat. Press right knee away from body gently while drawing left knee to chest. Hold pose for 6-24 breaths, release hands and bring soles of feet to mat. Repeat on the other side.

Benefits: Stretches the hips. Stretches and strengthen lower back muscles, reduces pain and tension.
Contraindications: Use caution with knee injury or pain

 

big toeReclined Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana) View

 

 

One-Legged Half Wheel

One-Legged Half Wheel (Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) View


Lie on your back, arms along sides, palms down. Bend knees, place feet flat on mat. Walk feet as close to buttocks as comfortably possible. Turn heels out slightly (outside edges of feet parallel with edges of mat. Thighs parallel, ground feet and palms down and lift hips. Keep knees directly over ankles. Place hands on lower back for support, elbows resting on mat. Rock weight from side to side, pull shoulder blades closer together. Step feet together, press firmly left foot into ground, raise your right leg up. Hold for five deep breaths, actively pressing left foot into mat, lift hips. Lower right foot mat repeat on other side. Gently lower hips down to mat. Counter-pose by hugging knees to chest to release lower back.

Benefits: increases flexibility of spine, deeply stretches chest, shoulders, and back of neck. stimulates thyroid gland, abdominal organs, improves digestion, reduces fatigue, anxiety, stress, headache and insomnia. Has both a calming and energetic effect on the body and mind.
Contraindications: Neck injury

 

Wind-Relieving Pose

Wind-Relieving Pose (Pavanamuktasana) View


Lie on your back, feet together, arms at your sides. Inhale, exhale- raise left knee, grip knee and press into the chest and raise head towards knee. Inhale and release. Repeat with the right leg. You can alternate legs with a rhythmic rocking back and forth. Then both legs together.

Benefits: strengthens back and core muscles, tones legs arms, aids digestion gas release, enhances blood circulation, eases tension in lower back
Contraindications: high blood pressure, heart issues, hyperacidity, hernia, slip disc, menstruation, neck or back injury, after second trimester of pregnancy.

 

Full Version

Reclined Hero Pose (Supta Virasana) View


DO NOT perform pose unless you can sit buttocks easily on the mat between your feet.
*If this feels too advanced, try the modified version.
From virasana, exhale and lower back toward mat. First lean onto hands, then forearms and elbows. Then place hands on the back of the pelvis and release lower back and buttocks down onto floor or a support. Lengthen lower back into the floor. Lay arms on floor near sides, palms up. Sink hips into mat. Knees may lift slightly away from floor. You may want to raise the knees a few inches up on a folded blanket. Keep thighs parallel. Do not allow knees to drift wider than the hips (to avoid straining hips and lower back). To begin, hold pose for 30 seconds and gradually extend to 5 minutes. To come out, press forearms into mat, come onto hands. Then push torso up with hands, leading with the chest.

Benefits: Stretches abdomen, thighs, knees, ankles, and deep hip flexors. Relieves tired legs. Improves digestion. Aids menstrual pain.
Contraindications: Serious back, knee, or ankle problems, heart problems.

 

savasanaCorpse Pose (Savasana) View


Also known as final relaxation pose, savasana pose is a key part of asana practice. Lie down on your mat, allowing space between the feet, and feet falling away from center. Arms down, palms up. Relax the body from head to toe, releasing tension, allowing muscles to melt into the mat. Breathe naturally. To come out of the pose, bring awareness to the body by gently moving the fingers and toes. When ready, bring knees to chest, gently roll to your side, and then gently push up to sitting position.

Benefits: allows deep relaxation to integrate asana practice with the mind after class
Contraindications: none

 

 

Suported Butterfly Pose

Supported Butterfly Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana) View


Lie on mat with bolster, pillows, and or blankets under your back and head for support. Bring the soles of your feet together, knees point out to the sides (as shown). Relax into pose and stay 3-10 minutes while breathing deeply.
Benefits: opens groin, allows lumbar to rest.

Contraindications: none