Rabbit Pose

woman in a rabbit pose

Written by:

Joanne Highland

Edited & fact checked by:

Jagpreet Kaur

Published Date:

Estimated reading time:

Rabbit Pose

Key Takeaway

Rabbit Pose, or Sasangasana, offers a deep stretch for the back and neck, promotes spinal flexibility, and provides a calming effect on the nervous system, making it an excellent counterpose for backbends and a stress-reliever for those with a sedentary lifestyle.

RABBIT POSE
Alternate name:Sasangasana
Difficulty level:Beginner
Pose category:Inversion
Muscle groups:Latissimus dorsi (back)
Erector spinae (back)
Trapezius (shoulders)
Deltoids (shoulders)
Intercostals (ribs)
Biceps (arms)
Abdominals (core)
Physical benefits:Boosts spinal flexibility, relieves neck tension, and strengthens core muscles.
Therapeutic applications:Relieves neck tension and lower back pain; promotes relaxation and stress reduction.
Preparatory poses:Cat and Cow Stretch (Marjaryasana and Bitilasana)
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Counterposes that follow well:Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Chakras activated:Sahasrara (Crown Chakra)
Most helpful prop:Manduka Yoga Cotton Blanket - Yoga Prop and Accessory, Roll, Fold, Stack to Support, Made of Cotton,...
Foam block or folded blanket under head - reduces pressure on crown.

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Isn’t it ironic that in today’s fast-paced life, we spend so much of our day sitting down? Whether hunched in front of a screen at work or slouched in a car stuck in traffic, by the end of the day, we’ve built up so much tension that it can feel hard to breathe!

But don’t worry! Rabbit Pose could be the remedy you’ve been waiting for! This amazing asana offers physical relief by stretching your back and neck, but it also has a lovely calming effect on your nervous system.

As an inversion, with the heart above the head and the crown of the head connected to the earth, this yoga pose is the perfect way to ground your energy after an emotional day.

You may hear this posture called by its Sanskrit name, Sasangasana, based on the Sanskrit word sasaka, or rabbit. It’s a modern yoga pose developed within the last century. I first learned this asana as part of a Yin Yoga practice, but you’ll find it included in various yoga sequences across many styles.

There are so many reasons to love this pose! So, let’s get right to it. Hop on over to your mat and get ready to experience the tranquil transformation of Rabbit Pose!

Watch our recommended steps for entering, holding, and exiting the pose.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Sasangasana

Now, let’s give your back and shoulders some much-deserved love with this fabulous stretch!

Getting into Position

First, let’s get you set up.

  1. Come down to your mat and sit on your heels with your knees hip-width apart, the tops of your feet pressing into the floor. Begin with your hands resting on your thighs.
  2. Sit tall, with the crown of your head reaching toward the sky, and take a couple of deep breaths and lengthen your spine.
  3. Now, bring your forehead to the floor in a Child’s Pose. Your arms may stay along the sides of your body or reach them forward.
  4. Once again, stay in this position for a couple of deep breaths. This step is crucial as your spine is slightly flexed while in Child’s Pose, preparing for the more intense flexion in Sasangasana.

Progressing into the Pose

Now for the fun part! To avoid rushing, pair each step with your breath.

  1. First, reach your arms behind you and cup your heels in your hands.
  2. Inhale deeply. As you exhale, tuck your chin and bring the crown of your head to the floor.
  3. On your next inhale, pull against your heels and lift your hips. Press your hips forward, trying to stack them over your knees.
  4. As you lift into Rabbit Pose, roll forward onto the top of your head. Picture your spine in one even curve, like a rainbow.
  5. Keep your arms straight, pulling on your heels as your hips press forward. This resistance will engage your biceps.
  6. As your arms pull against your heels, you might feel your shoulders want to scrunch up toward your ears, creating tension. Instead, think about keeping space between your shoulders and ears to elongate your neck.
  7. Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute.

Remember to breathe through each step — this will help you move mindfully and safely.

Exiting Safely

Coming out of Sasangasana is just as crucial as getting into it. This is an intense stretch, so taking your time is vital.

  1. Slowly lower your hips back down to your heels.
  2. Release your heels and bring your hands in front of you.
  3. Rest for a couple of breaths in Child’s Pose again.
  4. Finally, walk your hands in towards you to sit up gradually. Lift your head gently, being careful not to strain your neck.

Once you return to an upright kneeling position, focus on your breath again. Inhale deeply, and see if your ribcage can expand a bit more. As you exhale, release any remaining tension from your torso.

Precautions for Safe Rabbit Pose Practice

Warming Up Before Sasangasana

Before you hop into Rabbit Pose, warm up your body and mobilize your spine. Here are some great options:

  • Start with a few rounds of Cat and Cow Stretch.
  • Sun Salutations will warm up your entire body.
  • Downward-Facing Dog stretches your whole back body.

Maintaining Balance

Staying balanced in this asana can be a bit tricky at first. Since your gaze is turned inward, it can be a bit disorienting. Here are some tips to help you feel more stable.

  • Engage your core: This helps keep you stable.
  • Breathe! One of the most common mistakes I see students make is holding their breath when trying to balance. Let your breath flow—it will help you, I promise!

When practicing Sasangasana, it’s essential not to push yourself in a way that causes you to wobble, which could injure your neck. Just take it slow and steady!

Using Yoga Props

Yoga props like blocks, blankets, or a strap can be handy in ensuring comfort and safety during Rabbit Pose.

  • Cushion your head: Place a foam block or folded blanket underneath the crown of your head to reduce the pressure, especially if you want to hold the pose for a longer duration of time.
  • Use a strap: If reaching your heels with your hands is an issue, loop a strap around the soles of your feet and hold on to the ends of the strap as you lift into the pose.

Want to make sure you’re prepared for any modifications? Pick up some yoga blocks or a strap from lululemon!

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When to Skip Sasangasana

Rabbit pose, or Sasangasana, is a great stretch, but it doesn’t work for everyone.

If you are pregnant or suffer from vertigo, Sasangasana is a no-go due to the abdominal compression and inverted position.

Folks with back pain or neck issues should also avoid this posture. Shifting your weight forward puts pressure on the top of your head and can compress the spine, worsening your condition.

If you experience chronic pain, always consult with a medical professional before beginning a new exercise routine!

Positive Effects of Rabbit Pose

Many yoga teachers use Sasangasana in yoga sequences as a counterpose for other postures. But there are many ways Rabbit Pose can improve your day-to-day life all on its own!

Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana) can help alleviate the common aches and pains we experience by lengthening and mobilizing the spine

Physical Perks

By now, you’re aware that the main targets of Sasangasana are the back and neck. It’s more than just a simple stretch, however. Let’s take a more in-depth look at this posture’s amazing physical effects.

  • Stretches the latissimus dorsi and erector spinae (back muscles), trapezius and deltoids (shoulders), and the intercostals (muscles between the ribs).
  • Boosts spinal flexibility, improving overall mobility.
  • Relieves neck tension and lower back pain. A lot of us are hunched over screens all day long. This asana gives those strained and tense muscles a much-needed release.
  • Tone the arms: an unexpected perk of Rabbit Pose!
  • Strengthens and tones the core. To bring your head to the floor and lift your hips, your abdominals will be working.

Mental Upsides

The perks aren’t just physical. There’s some serious mental mojo happening when you’re in Rabbit Pose, too.

  • Stress Reduction: We live in a busy world where stress is often high. The calming and grounding nature of Sasangasana can help reduce stress and promote a sense of relaxation and tranquility.
  • Improved Concentration: Practicing Sasangasana can help enhance focus and concentration by requiring mental attention to maintain balance and alignment.

Boosts to Overall Well-being

Holistic health is just as important as your physical and mental states. When you practice Rabbit Pose regularly, here are some long-lasting benefits.

  • It encourages deeper breathing and can even increase lung capacity!
  • It improves digestion by stimulating the abdominal organs.
  • Heightens mental clarity and calmness throughout the day.
  • It helps prevent or reduce chronic pain and helps maintain mobility, allowing you to enjoy life for as long as possible!

So there you have it: if you love your body, Rabbit Pose is a highly valuable addition to your library of yoga poses!

Enhancing Your Yoga Practice with Rabbit Pose

Add a shoulder-opening variation to your Rabbit Pose by clasping your hands behind your back and lifting your arms up overhead.

Sasangasana as a Counterpose

Backbending yoga postures bring the body into spinal extension. Rabbit Pose is the direct opposite position, spinal flexion. For this reason, yoga teachers love to add this posture at the end of a backbend-heavy yoga sequence.

Try it for yourself! After doing an intense backbend like Bow or Camel Pose, try easing into Rabbit Pose. It’ll feel like a sweet relief for your spine! Sasangasana is like the yin to the yang of backbends.

Creative Yoga Sequences With Sasangasana

Of course, there are a lot of ways to incorporate Rabbit Pose into your yoga flows! It doesn’t always have to follow Camel Pose. For yoga teachers or students wanting to build a creative sequence, here are some ideas for pose pairings!

Each of these mini-sequences has a slightly different area of focus.

  1. Spinal Mobility: Cat and Cow Stretch, Cobra, Rabbit Pose
  2. Shoulders and Core: Downward Facing Dog, Dolphin, Rabbit Pose
  3. Relaxation: Crocodile, Rabbit Pose, Child’s Pose

Deepening Your Rabbit Pose

Are you looking for more of a challenge? Try holding Rabbit Pose for a longer duration to not only enhance your flexibility but also improve your breathing and concentration.

For a more intense stretch in Sasangasana, try these suggestions:

  • Place your forehead as close to your knees as possible. Remember to tuck your chin!
  • Aim to align your hips directly over your knees. Lift your hips as you simultaneously press them forward. Remember to breathe and move slowly to avoid straining!
  • Try a shoulder-opening variation: clasp your hand behind you and lift your hands above your head, keeping your arms straight.

Practice makes perfect! The more you do Rabbit Pose, the deeper you can stretch and the longer you can hold it. Try to add one breath each time you practice Sasangasana.

Yin Yoga Inspiration

I particularly love using Rabbit Pose in a Yin Yoga practice.

In this style of yoga, specific yoga postures relate to different meridians within the body, similar to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Keeping your energy flow balanced throughout the meridians contributes to your overall health.

According to Yin Yoga principles, Sasangasana targets these meridians in particular, producing positive emotional effects.

  • The Kidney meridian relates to the emotion of fear. When this meridian is balanced through poses like the Sasangasana, it can help alleviate feelings of fright, anxiety, and insecurity, promoting a sense of calm and inner peace.
  • The Lung meridian corresponds to the emotion of grief. Practicing Rabbit Pose can aid in releasing pent-up sorrow and sadness, encouraging emotional healing and resilience.

So, if you’re like me and love to explore the energetic principles of yoga, you might investigate these effects for yourself!

If you find yourself on your mat at the end of a particularly emotional day, that’s a perfect time to try Rabbit Pose. With an open mind, notice what feelings come up with each inhale and exhale.

Embrace Sasangasana For the Love of Your Spine

Within the vast yoga pose library, Sasangasana, or Rabbit Pose, is a refreshing posture that offers numerous health benefits. The pose demands focus and patience, but the efforts are worth it!

Practicing Sasangasana is excellent for your body in a significant way! Did you know back pain is among the most common reasons people seek medical attention? One of the easiest ways to prevent a mechanical issue in your body is to use your body in the way it is meant to be used!

Your spine is meant to be flexible. It can move in various ways — flexion, extension, even twists! That’s why it’s vital to include poses like Sasangasana in your yoga practice: to keep your back strong and healthy to live an active, pain-free life.

That’s another reason I love including Rabbit Pose in my yoga sequences. It serves a meaningful, functional purpose, and it feels fantastic, too!

If you want to keep your body feeling good — from the top of your head all the way down to your heels — it’s time to hop onto your mat and give Rabbit Pose a try!

Embrace Rabbit Pose for a healthy back and spine. Incorporate it into your next yoga sequence and feel its soothing effects

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Sasangasana suitable for beginners?

Yes, Sasangasana or Rabbit Pose is suitable for beginners. However, like any other yoga pose, it should be performed under proper guidance initially until you are comfortable doing it on your own.

Can I perform Rabbit Pose during pregnancy?

It is generally recommended to avoid any poses that put pressure on the abdomen during pregnancy. Therefore, pregnant women should refrain from performing Sasangasana.

What are some precautions to keep in mind while performing Sasangasana?

While practicing Sasangasana, ensure not to strain your neck or back excessively. Also, people with severe back issues or injuries should avoid this pose.

How often should I practice Rabbit Pose?

The frequency of practicing this pose depends on individual capability and comfort level. However, regular practice is vital to reap maximum benefits from this posture.

Can practicing Sasangasana help improve my digestion?

Yes! The compression created in the abdominal area while performing Sasangasana stimulates the digestive organs, which can aid in improving digestion.

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