Doing the Dolphin Yoga Pose

If you are seeking a yoga pose that targets all of the major muscles, Dolphin Yoga Pose is your new best friend. Dolphin pose is a forward bend as well as an inversion, which adds many fitness and mental health benefits . 

Forward bends are great for stretching the lower back and hamstrings, both playing large roles in dolphin. Inversions require core strength, which can be improved through the use of dolphin pose. 

Engaging your abdominal muscles in any yoga pose will make your core area stronger. Going upside down also improves blood circulation and lowers your resting heart rate. 

This movement serves as a preparation for entering forearm balance and other inversion poses. Mastering the dolphin yoga pose and progressively moving your feet closer to your face will make you more comfortable upside down. 

Dolphin Yoga Pose

Regardless of where you go from dolphin, simply holding the pose for 5-25 breath cycles will significantly increase your strength and flexibility. Dolphin can be a difficult pose for many. If this is the case, start by holding the pose for 5 breath cycles, gradually working towards 25.

Pose Instructions:

  • Begin on your hands and knees at the center of your mat. Align knees with hips and wrists with shoulders.

  • Keeping them aligned with your shoulders, lower your elbows to the floor. Your forearms should be parallel on your mat.

  • Straighten your legs, exactly like the downward-facing dog pose.
dophin poseKim Demonstrating the Dophin Pose


  •  If holding your forearms parallel causes pain in your shoulders, try clasping your hands behind your head (similar to classical headstand). 
  • Use caution if you suffer from excessively tight hamstrings. The amount of flexibility you have in your hamstrings will, for most improve with consistent stretching. 

  • It is common for the elbows to slip away from one another, making it to difficult to balance. Try placing a strap around your upper-arm bones, locking them in place. Or squeeze a block between your hands by making an L-shape with your thumb and pointer finger.

  •  Once you are comfortable in dolphin you may work your way into forearm stand. It is recommended that beginners keep the strap or block in place until they are no longer needed in the pose. 

  • For added shoulder strength, try some push-ups while holding dolphin yoga pose.  

Dolphin Yoga Pose Benefits

  • Continuously working on dolphin pose will improve shoulder and arm strength, tone your midsection and stretch your hamstring muscles. Needless to say, strengthening these areas will alter your entire yoga practice for the better.

  • Adding strength and flexibility aids in the prevention of osteoporosis. Practitioners have also reported improved memory, concentration, stress levels and relief from chronic back pain. 

  • Women suffering from menstrual discomfort can count on dolphin pose to relieve some pain. Similarly, holding dolphin pose can improve digestion. Difficulties with sleep can also be enriched through the use of this pose.

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I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.

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