Supine yoga postures are performed lying down on your back, and are a great way to end your yoga practice. Many of the Sanskrit names of the poses in this category begin with Supta—the word for supine in Sanskrit. These are some of the best poses that you can do in bed to wake up or help you fall asleep. They also frequently used in restorative yoga.
The most famous and basic lying down yoga pose is Savasana or corpse pose. Other popular supine asanas are Bridge pose, Happy Baby, Supine Twist, and Supine Bound Angle.
It is best to find a qualified yoga instructor to teach you the alignment of the lying down yoga poses. As most of your body weight is supported by the earth or positioned with a low center of gravity, supine poses can often be held for longer times than other categories of asanas. This is especially true for lying down positions that focus on stretching. Expect to hold strength building supine poses for 4-6 breaths and stretching asanas for 6-12 breaths. If used in restorative yoga, they are held for even longer times. A consistent yoga practice and following our beginner yoga guide will yield the best and fastest results.
There are several benefits of supine poses. Supine postures release stress, promote flexibility, and help to integrate your practice. They are calming, grounding, cooling and supportive. Yoga teachers often sequence them at the end of a yoga class. Supine yoga poses are great for relaxing the mind and body, and can be particularly beneficial for those suffering from insomnia or anxiety. They are also useful for relieving stress and tension in the neck, shoulders, and back. Asanas that are done lying on your back are an ideal position to take advantage of gravity to deepen reclined twists, promote flexibility in the legs and for building strength in backbends.
Lying flat on one’s back also allows us to relax completely. When we move through a supine routine, each time we return to our backs we have an opportunity for integration, awareness, and relaxation.
There are approximately 18 primary supine asanas in yoga. Check out our list of supine poses by image, name and level below. You will find step-by-step instructions, pose benefits, modifications, and Sanskrit pronunciation for each pose.