Dolphin Pose

Dolphin Pose is a great shoulder opener. It can be challenging or feel awkward at first for people with tight shoulders.

This asana is a preparation pose for headstand. But you do not have to do (or want to do) a headstand to practice it and feel its benefits.

Dolphin Pose

  • Start on the floor, on your hands and knees.

  • Place your knees right under your hips and your hands right under your shoulders, shoulders width apart.

  • Lower your elbows to the floor and clasp your upper arms with your hands to measure the distance between your elbows.

  • Without moving your elbows release your forearms down to the floor and clasp your hands together.

  • Inhale, expanding the rib cage.

  • As you exhale, lift your knees of the floor and straighten your legs as much as possible. If you have tight hamstrings and calves, it is ok to have your knees bent.

  • Press your sitting bones up toward the ceiling.

  • Press your chest toward the wall behind you to open up the shoulders.

  • Press the heels down toward the floor.

  • Relax your head and neck and breathe.

  • To come out of the pose, exhale, lowering your knees down to the floor.

Variation - Arms parallel

As a variation, place your forearms parallel to each other, palms down, instead of clasping the hands together. This will be more challenging, especially if you have tight shoulders.


Main Target / Benefits
  • Stretches the calves, hamstrings, glutes and back muscles.

  • Strengthens the arms and shoulders.

  • Opens the shoulders and chest.

  • Calms the mind and increases blood flow.

Caution / Recommendation
  • Keep a micro bend in the knees to protect them.