Saddle Pose Yin Yoga Supta Vajrasana - Complete Guide

Yin Yoga, a style of yoga known for its deep, passive stretches, includes the Saddle Pose (Supta Vajrasana in Sanskrit) as one of its essential asanas. With its unique blend of relaxation and stretch, this pose offers numerous benefits, making it a favoured choice among yoga practitioners.

Benefits of Saddle Pose

Supta Vajrasana The Saddle Pose primary benefit is its profound opening in the sacral-lumbar arch, effectively stretching the hip flexors and quadriceps. 

This stretch is particularly beneficial for athletes and those who engage in standing or walking activities. When performed with the neck dropped back, it stimulates the thyroid gland. 

Additionally, positioning the feet beside the hips in this pose encourages good internal hip rotation.

top view of a man doing saddle pose yin yoga Supta Vajrasana
Saddle Yoga Pose stretches the hip flexors and quadriceps. 

Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s an expanded guide on how to do Supta Vajrasana, the Saddle Pose in Yin Yoga:

  • Starting Position: Begin by sitting in your heels. Pay attention to how your ankles feel. If there’s discomfort, consider placing a blanket or folded towel under them for padding, especially on hard floors.
  • Ankle and Knee Adjustment: Check your knees since this Pose involves deep knee flexion. If discomfort in your thighs and calves is considerable, place blocks or cushions between your feet to sit higher, reducing knee stress.
  • Leaning Back: Next, lean back on your hands. This Position creates stress along the top of the thighs and front of the hips. This might be as far as you go in the Pose, and that’s perfectly fine.
  • Listening to Your Body: If the Pose becomes too much, you can exit and switch to a Sphinx Pose, resting on your elbows and lifting your chest.
  • Using Bolsters: If you’re a bit more advanced (Track two students), consider resting your back on a bolster, supporting your spine better. You can open your arms to the sides or overhead to increase the hip sensation in this Position.
  • Full Saddle Pose: More flexible individuals (Track three students) can lower to the floor. Here, you can also bring your arms overhead. It’s normal if your knees lift off the floor slightly, indicating tightness in the quadriceps.
  • Focus on Sensation: Remember, it’s not about how the Pose looks but how it feels. The goal is to experience the sensation, not achieve a particular appearance.
  • Relax and Close Your Eyes: Once you find the version of the Saddle Pose that works for you, close your eyes and settle into the sensation, focusing on your breath and the stretch.
woman doing saddle pose in yin yoga
Supta Vajrasana Track Three Students can lay down and bring arms overhead

Saddle Pose Video How to

Saddle Pose vs. Hero Pose

While similar in appearance, Saddle Pose (Supta Vajrasana) and Hero Pose (Virasana) differ significantly in intensity and the areas they target. 

Hero Pose is generally considered less intense and more accessible, especially for beginners or those with knee sensitivity. The Saddle Pose offers a more intense experience with its deeper backbend and stretch.

Saddle Pose for Beginners

man doing saddle pose in yin yoga Supta Vajrasana
Try Supta Vajrasana by Sitting on Your Heels

For beginners, it’s essential to approach the Supta Vajrasana Saddle Pose with caution. Starting simply by sitting on the heels and noticing the body’s response is an excellent first step. If there’s any pain in the knees or ankles, it’s advised to either use a blanket for support or skip the pose entirely. Beginners can lean back on their hands to create a gentle arch in the lower back and proceed only as comfortably as possible.

Variations of Saddle Pose

woman doing holding her shit in a bent legge saddle pose Supta Vajrasana
Hugging a leg offers a different experience in saddle pose
woman doing one legged saddle pose Supta Vajrasana
One-legged Half Saddle Pose Seated or Laid Down allows for a accessible and different stretch

Several variations of the Saddle Pose cater to different levels of flexibility and comfort. One popular variation is the Half Saddle, where one leg is straightened, offering extra stretch and intensity. Other variations include:

  • Resting on the elbows.
  • Using bolsters for support.
  • Placing a block between the feet and under the buttocks for an elevated hip position.

These variations ensure that practitioners at all levels can safely enjoy Supta Vajrasana benefits.

Half Saddle Pose Benefits

top view of a man doing half saddle pose in yin yoga
Half Saddle Pose allows for more adjustments

The Half Saddle Pose, where one leg is extended, offers specific benefits such as a more targeted stretch in the quadriceps and hip flexors of the extended leg. 

It also allows for more significant adjustments in the pose, making it suitable for those with limited flexibility or knee issues.

Alternative to Saddle Pose

Woman doing yoga pose Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) Michelle Burks. Yoga Blog
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

For those who find the Saddle Pose too intense for the lower back, the Sphinx Pose or Cobra pose is an excellent alternative. This pose offers a milder stretch while still being beneficial.

Counter Pose to Saddle

After practicing Supta Vajrasana, engaging in counter poses to balance the body is beneficial. Lying quietly on your back, moving into a Child’s Pose, or engaging in Crocodile or Push-up poses are effective ways to release any tension accumulated during the Saddle Pose.

Exiting the Pose

Exiting Supta Vajrasana the Saddle Pose involves gradually coming up onto the elbows and hands and then lying down on the belly to allow the knees to release gently. This careful exit helps to prevent any strain or discomfort

The Pose Impact On Chakras

image showing chakra activation during saddle pose Supta Vajrasana
Saddle Pose offers physical benefits and contributes to emotional and energetic balance

We can expand our understanding of its holistic impact by incorporating a section on the chakras affected by the Saddle Pose in Yin Yoga. This pose primarily influences the Svadhisthana (Sacral) and Manipura (Solar Plexus) chakras.

The Svadhisthana Chakra, located in the lower abdomen, is associated with creativity, pleasure, and emotional balance. The deep hip opening in the Saddle Pose helps to stimulate and balance this chakra, potentially releasing emotional tension and fostering a sense of creativity and well-being.

The Manipura Chakra, situated around the navel, represents personal power, confidence, and the ability to take action. The stretching and opening of the abdominal area in this pose can aid in activating and harmonizing this chakra, potentially enhancing self-confidence and inner strength.

By engaging these chakras, Supta Vajrasana the saddle pose offers physical benefits and contributes to emotional and energetic balance.

The Pose Impact on Meridians and Organs

Regarding its impact on the body’s internal systems, the Saddle Pose affects the stomach, spleen, urinary bladder, and kidney meridians. This influence promotes balance and rejuvenation in these areas, enhancing overall well-being.

Saddle Pose a Complete Asana

The Saddle Pose in Yin Yoga is a versatile and beneficial asana that can be adapted to suit a wide range of practitioners. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, incorporating Supta Vajrasana the Saddle Pose into your practice can significantly benefit the body and mind.


image of a swimming pool at a joshua tree wellness retreat
Yoga and Wellness Retreats
Joshua Tree Wellness Retreat 2024: Best of California

Nestled in the heart of the desert, Joshua Tree and its mystical landscape stand as a beacon for those seeking wellness and spiritual rejuvenation. Renowned for its unique desert beauty and powerful energy vortex, Joshua Tree provides an idyllic backdrop for wellness retreats. These retreats offer a harmonious blend of yoga practices, wellness classes, and transformative workshops designed to nurture the body, mind, and spirit.

Set against the natural beauty and tranquility of Joshua Tree, these retreats promise an immersive experience that fosters deep healing and personal growth.

Continue Reading
woman sitting in a yoga pose studying Sanskrit
Yoga Poses
Sanskrit Yoga Poses: How To Translate Asanas and Why

New students to the practice may find the names of Sanskrit Yoga poses odd or unusual. These new students may not understand that Yoga transcends physical postures and their names. It is an intricate blend of body, mind, and spirit deeply rooted in ancient wisdom. Central to this wisdom is the Sanskrit language, a classical Indian language intertwined with Yoga for centuries. Revered for its phonetic depth, linguistic complexity, and spiritual significance, Sanskrit is the language of the yoga tradition.

Understanding Sanskrit terms and pose names can profoundly enrich the yoga experience, offering practitioners a deeper appreciation of each posture’s essence and purpose. Sanskrit names convey the pose’s history, the energy it channels, and its impact on the body and mind. This connection to the ancient texts and traditions of Yoga, such as the Yoga Sutras or the Bhagavad Gita, adds depth and authenticity to the practice.

Continue Reading
woman doing Mandukasana a frog yin yoga pose in front of a swimming pool
Yoga Poses
Frog Pose Yoga: Unlocking Flexibility and Strength

Frog Pose, known in Sanskrit as Mandukasana, is a significant asana in yoga, focusing on the hips and groin. This pose’s name comes from its resemblance to a frog’s stance.

Mandukasana can be invigorating and meditative when performed correctly, offering a unique combination of stretch and strength. It’s accessible to beginners yet offers depth for more experienced practitioners. The pose embodies the tranquility and physical challenge central to yoga’s philosophy.

Continue Reading
Scroll to Top
Welcome to the Yinside

Three Free
Yin Yoga Class Recordings

Hosted by Bernie Clark

Michelle Burks creating free yoga videos for clients

Grab Your Free Morning Yoga Videos