Posture Clinic: Rabbit Pose

Rabbit Pose


Rabbit Pose photo: Bikram Yoga San Antonio

The progression between Camel Pose and Rabbit Pose is one of the most stimulating and beneficial parts of the Bikram Yoga series. Both poses open the spine deeply, helping to stretch and stimulate the inter-vertebral disks. This helps to not only ensure proper spinal alignment but helps to maintain the spongy nature of the disks which helps them absorb shock from daily movement to prevent back pain. Highly theraputing for the nervous, skeletal, digestive and glandular systems this is pose that is difficult to master but well worth the effort.


Muscles of the back
Medulla Oblongata



Physical Benefits:
Provides maximum longitudinal extension of the spine.

Stretches the spine to increase proper nutrition to the nervous system.

Improves the mobility and elasticity of the spine and back muscles.

Helps balance and regulate metabolism.

Balances hormones.

Improves digestion.

Helps relieve glandular problems.

Helps improve conditions of the sinus, common cold and chronic tonsillitis.

Emotional Benefits:

Helps with depression.

Helps with insomnia.

Releases issues with taking on responsibility for the happiness of others.

Energetic Benefits

Opens the back of the heart chackra.

Posture Tips

Rabbit pose is one of the most challenging postures to master in the Bikram Yoga series. This is a posture where it is especially important to pay attention to the dialogue.

Always start with the right grip in the pose. The thumbs should be included with the rest of the fingers, thumbs on the outside, fingers on the inside.

Once you are in the posture, do not move to correct it. Fix the posture in the set up, not when you are in it. – Bikram

The biggest misconception beginners have about rabbit is that there should be no weight or pressure on the head. In fact, about 15% of the body weight should be in the head.

The dialogue will always encourage to lift the hips up, which is important to the pose. But it is important to never sacrifice the grip to get the hips higher. Remember,it is the grip and pull that create the force to stretch the spine.

If there is too much pressure on head, grab lower on the foot – Craig Villani

The harder you pull on the feet the better of a compression you will create benefiting the organs.

Try to eliminate any gap under the ankles and work to have the heels together through the pose.

While pulling on the heels, lift the shoulders away from the ears.


Filed under Daily Feature, Posture Clinic, Posture Tips

9 responses to “Posture Clinic: Rabbit Pose

  1. Andie Simard

    Question regarding a student’s struggle to even get a grip on her heels during rabbit. Physcially her body compostion limits the range of the reach she can get on her heels. Even when half way down, she really can’t get a solid grip on her heels enough to generate an effective pull. Any suggestions?

    • I’ve asked this question to Bikram and Rajishree before. Their response has been to get the student to place their head on the floor first, then reach back for the heels. In the case of someone who is over-weight, or has severe back injuries, get them to place their hands on the floor, six inches apart to support themselves. Once the fore-head is on the floor get them to reach back for the heels. If this is still impossible, get them to grip the towel that is over the heels as close as possible to the heels.

      • Thank YOU for creating this site, I love it, can’t believe i just learned about it this week. About the hand position you mentioned above for someone overweight or with acute/chronic spinal problems, where should they place their hands 6 inches apart for suuport? How about students with short arms who can only manage a fingertip grip instead of full-palm grip? In contrast, how about students with extra long arms that even when grabbing lower on their feet and lifting their shoulders up towards the ceiling, their arms still remain bent. Would appreciate you thoughts.

  2. I absolutely love these posture clinics. 🙂

  3. SylviaG.

    Hi Barbora, nice breakdown of the posture!
    A great rabbit really starts with the RIGHT GRIP. So difficult and so many people (including me, ha!) can´t get it right. I learnt recently though that the thumbs should be in 90 degree angle with the rest of the fingers – that´s how much deep inside and low you have to grap your foot, heels together. (in competition the judges must/should not see your knuckles from the side, only your thumb). This precise 90 degree thing I can´t recall from the dialugue, I think it really just says “thumbs on the outside, fingers on the inside” (I´m not a teacher, so maybe you can check…, or maybe it´s competiton thing…?) Anyway, this though does help once you pay close attention to your grip, it may prevent you lifting your hips higher and getting a deeper expression of the posture, BUT like you said above never sacrifice the grip to get the hips higher, because only then you get the most benefits, stretching the lower spine, back muscles, shoulders..etc.
    All else you said above. 🙂

  4. Stephanie

    Hi Guys -I have a question about rabbit- should the forehead be touching the knees or is it ok to compress further so the hairline is on the knees? I always feel I can round my spine more by tucking the chin further, but is that keeping the integrity of the pose?
    Thanks a lot!!

    • Hi Stephanie,

      It sounds like tucking your chin in more should be safe. I would ask a senior teacher from your studio to take a look at your pose to confirm that your alignment is correct. I would recommend on shifting your focus to finding more of a way to pull on the heels to see if you are able to create depth in the pose by increasing the tension in the pose.


  5. After I get into this pose, I develop a cramp in my solar plexes to the point I have to get out of the pose. Any ideas why this cramp happens and how I can avoid it in the future?

    • Hi Jay,

      I haven’t heard of someone cramping in the solar plexus before. I wonder if it has anything to with your electrolyte levels? Perhaps try taking some electrolytes and perhaps focus on breathing in the posture, relaxing the chest and engaging the abdominal muscles more.

      My biggest recommendation would be to ask a senior teacher at your studio to look at your pose and see if they can offer any advice.

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