Sleeping Yogi Yoga Pose

Sleeping Yogi Yoga Pose is a reclined, inverted forward bend pose that targets the hamstrings and spine and is ideal for yogis and yoginis at an advanced level.

svadisthana – the sacral chakra
related poses
How To Do Sleeping Yogi Yoga Pose
  1. Begin on your back in the Corpse Pose (Savasana). Inhale and bring the knees to the chest. Cross one ankle over the other, opening up at the knees.
  2. Draw your legs toward your head and reach your hands forward between your legs. Place your hands on your lower calves or ankles and continue to pull your legs toward the top of the head, lifting your head and shoulders off of the mat. Be sure to keep your neck free of excess strain, taking care to not crowd your shoulders upward.
  3. Inhale as you bring the feet and ankles over and behind the head so that your head and shoulders are pulled through the space in the legs. Push the feet toward the floor behind your head and work the shoulders forward so that they are pressing into the backs of the knees. Position your heels so that you may comfortably rest your head on your feet for support.
  4. Bring your hands to the prayer position at your sternum, or deepen the pose by reaching both arms around the outer thighs and behind your lower back (just above your raised buttocks). Hook your fingers together to hold this position. Lift up at the chest to open the lungs slightly.
  5. Gaze upward and hold the position for several deep, controlled breaths or for 30-60 seconds if possible. Breathing will be difficult because of the pressure on the lungs and diaphragm; start with shallower, more rapid breaths and gradually deepen them. As you become more comfortable in this pose breathing will become easier. To come out, release the hands and bring them back to the ankles. Draw your elbows in to ease your head and shoulders back through the legs, bringing your knees back to the chest. Repeat with the other ankle crossed in front or remember to alternate during your next session.
  • Breathe deeply through each step.
  • This is an advanced yoga pose and may cause injury if performed incorrectly. Do not attempt this pose if your body isn’t ready. If you’re practicing it for the first time, do so with a trainer or partner present.
  • While this pose is a great hip opener, open hips are also a prerequisite for performing this pose. Practice other hip-opening exercises before attempting this one.
  • Avoid this pose if you have inflexible or tight hamstrings, which may lead to injury.
  • Do not perform this pose if you have knee, lower back or neck injury. If you experience any pain or stress in these areas, even if not injured, stop performing the pose. If you notice you are stressing these areas to overcompensate for tight thighs and hips (IE straining your neck to bring your head through the legs as opposed to bringing your legs over the head), stop performing the pose. Practice other hamstring stretches and hip openers to rectify this problem.

If you’re a beginner, try starting the pose by bringing only your head through the legs. Instead of reaching your arms through the legs before lowering them, simply grab your feet at the middle or at the toes to help pull the feet over the head. Your shoulders will still be on or near the ground instead of on top of the knees. Your elbows should be pointing out to the sides.
If you haven’t tested your ability to place your feet behind your head, try practicing the Foot Behind the Head Pose (Eka Pada Sirsasana) to see if you’re ready and also to prepare for the Sleeping Yogi.
Work on a variety of standing poses to open the hips and stretch the hamstrings, such as the Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana).

Stretches & Strengthens

All Muscles: Deep spinal muscles, hamstrings, hip flexors, calves

Target Muscles: Deep spinal muscles, hamstrings

Health Benefits of Sleeping Yogi Yoga Pose
  • May relieve stress and fatigue.
  • Relaxes the mind.

Sanskrit Name & Meaning

Sanskrit Name & Meaning


(yo-gAH-ni drAHs-anna)

yoganidra: state of half meditation half sleep
asana: posture

History & Mythology

History & Mythology

There’s gotta be some history or mythology on this pose! We’ve looked high and low and have only come up with this message. Perhaps you have some information or resource for us to explore?