Prone Yoga Poses

Prone poses are postures performed with the belly or torso touching or facing the floor. Most prone yoga poses are backbends, which energize the body, tonify the kidneys, and strengthen the heart and lungs. Many of the Belly down postures also open the chest, and build core body strength in the low back, abs, and gluteal muscles.

Prone postures are simple enough for beginners, yet can be very challenging to hold for longer periods. Some of the most common prone yoga poses include Cobra, Up Dog, and Bow pose. These asanas are usually performed throughout an asana practice, but are often sequenced in the middle or towards the end of a yoga class.

Tips for practicing prone asanas

  • When lying flat on your stomach, make sure you are not putting excessive pressure on your lower abdomen or hip bones.
  • If you are pregnant or have recent abdominal surgery, avoid all belly down poses or consult with your doctor before attempting these asanas.
  • Use props if needed for support. For example, place a blanket under your hip bones to create extra cushion and padding against the floor.
  • If you feel pain while doing these exercises, stop immediately. Instead, modify or support the pose with props, or simply avoid the pose.
  • Maintain a slow deep breath while holding these poses, especially the more restorative and calming asanas.
  • Be mindful of your engagement of the gluteal muscles (butt muscles) in theses poses. It is common to under or over engage these muscles, so work on finding the amount of muscular contraction that best supports the entire body in the shape.
  • When you release the pose return to a neutral position of lying on your belly and take a few breaths to rest and integrate before attempting the next movement.

Benefits of prone poses

Prone yoga poses are beneficial for building strength, heat and endurance. They can be used to increase stamina and strength in the leg muscles, hip muscles, and back. Prone yoga poses are also helpful for increasing flexibility in the hamstring muscles, shoulders, and chest.

Belly down yoga poses are a great way to build confidence because you feel strong and stable in your body with the chest lifted and open. Asanas practiced in the prone position help to combat stress, improve digestion, encourage good posture, reduce anxiety, and increase blood circulation.

List of prone yoga poses

There are approximately 13 primary prone asanas in hatha yoga. Check out our list of prone poses by image, name and level below. You will find step-by-step instructions, pose benefits, modifications, and Sanskrit pronunciation for each yoga pose.

  • Bow • dhanurasana



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  • Crocodile Pose • makarasana



  • Downward Facing Frog pose • Adho Mukha Mandukasana

    Downward Facing Frog

    Adho Mukha Mandukasana

  • Eight-Limbed Pose • Ashtangasana

    Eight-Limbed Pose


  • Four Limbed Staff Pose • Chaturanga

    Four Limbed Staff Pose


  • Half Bow • ardha dhanurasana

    Half Bow

    Ardha Dhanurasana

  • Half Locust

    Half Locust

    Ardha Shalabhasana

  • Locust yoga pose / shalabhasana



  • Side Bow • parsva dhanurasana

    Side Bow

    Parsva Dhanurasana

  • Snake pose • sarpasana



  • Sphinx yoga pose • salamba bhujangasana


    Salamba Bhujangasana

  • Upward Facing Dog Pose • urdhva mukha svanasana

    Upward Facing Dog

    Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Yoga Basics