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The Shiva pose: Deconstruct and Master

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

Shiva Pose is a complex pose involving a lot of muscle groups. It requires a solid core and good amount of strength and flexibility in the lower half of the body. It is a blend of the Compass pose and the Reverse Table pose, both of which should be practiced before attempting Shiva.

The Shiva pose engages the muscles of the back, the core, hips, hamstrings and quads. It also engages the shoulder and develops arm strength.

Approach Shiva pose slowly. You might see the pose and wonder how to get there. We can help you deconstruct it. Start by seeing if any of the following poses are too hard or comfortable.

Compass pose

Compass pose

This pose will stretch and tone your whole leg and if the leg is strong enough to maintain the stretch without your hand, then that's one step of the Shiva pose that will be easy for you.

Reverse Table Pose

Reverse Table Pose

This pose will strengthen your abs, back and general core area. Maintain good form and keep your body straight. Focus on stability to strengthen the small supporting muscles.

Elephant Trunk Pose

This pose will develop your arms and shoulders while keeping the legs and core engaged. The hip also benefits from a deep rotation.

Once you have mastered these poses, the flow into Shiva will make sense to you easily. You can drop down to the floor in Elephant Trunk pose, plant the other leg to lift your core into Shiva, and then extend the shouldered leg. You can go up on tiptoe with your planted leg to get a little more lift with your hips.

Shiva Pose

The strength and flexibility in your limbs that you would have gained from Compass and Reverse Tabletop are going to be invaluable in holding Shiva comfortably. Get the extended leg comfortable before you work on the swing up. You don't want the the leg to be fighting the arm which is keeping you stable. Keep the legs and core engaged throughout Shiva pose.


  1. Shiva pose will improve balance and flexibility in your whole body.

  2. Stretch and tone the internal organs

  3. Strengthen arms and wrists.

  4. Improve core strength and stability.


People suffering from leg, ankle, hand, shoulder and neck injury should avoid this pose. Also, if your suffering from Sciatica, arthritic hip pain, hip replacement or groin tear injury should avoid attempting this pose.

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