What Muscles Do You Use in the Seated Yoga Mudra Pose?

The Lotus pose is a starting position for the Seated Yoga Mudra pose.

The Lotus pose is a starting position for the Seated Yoga Mudra pose.

The Seated Yoga Mudra pose is a rejuvenating and relaxing pose thought to have many benefits. Various schools of yoga say it aids digestion and prevents constipation by stimulating the abdomen. The pose strengthens and stretches core muscles, as well as the muscles of the upper back, neck, shoulders and legs, providing relief from tension and pain. This is a go-to pose if you are feeling out of sorts -- it is thought to center you by connecting the mind and the heart.

Upper Body Muscles

In this pose while you are seated, you clasp your hands behind your back and raise your arms toward the ceiling as you lean forward. This motion opens and stretches the chest and extends your range of motion, working the pectoralis major muscle in your chest while stretching the deltoid muscles in your shoulders. The rhomboid and trapezius muscles in your upper back are also stretched, relieving tension in your back and neck.

Lower Body Muscles

The position that you use as a base for the Seated Yoga Mudra pose varies depending on your level. If you are new to yoga, or have limited flexibility, you can kneel and then sit on your heels with your back straight in the Thunderbolt pose. This pose stretches your foot and calf muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus, medius and minimus muscles. For practiced yogis, Lotus pose is ideal. It opens your hips, stretches your inner thigh and strengthens your outer thigh muscles as you work on pressing your legs toward the floor.

Core Muscles

In both the Thunderbolt and the Lotus poses, your core is engaged and strengthened as you focus on pulling your abdominal muscles inward and upward while lifting the muscles of the pelvic floor. As you lengthen your spine and lean forward, your spinal extensors are also engaged, strengthened and stretched. Exercising your core muscles leads to good balance and stability in all the activities of your daily life.


Pay attention to your breath and focus on expanding your chest while doing the Seated Yoga Mudra pose. Breathe in deeply and exhale fully. Firm your core and lengthen your spine while doing this pose. If it is uncomfortable to clasp your hands behind your back, you can use a yoga strap, holding onto it with your hands as close together as possible. Do not do this pose if you have arm, shoulder, neck or knee problems, or if you have glaucoma or high blood pressure.

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  • The Key Poses of Yoga: Your Guide to Functional Anatomy in Yoga; Ray Long, MD, FRCSC
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About the Author

Based in New York City, Rebecca Jones has been a writer, reporter and researcher for more than 20 years. Her reporting and researching has helped inform the pages of Glamour, Giant, and Ladies' Home Journal among other publications. In addition to her professional work in the editorial departments of magazines, Jones is an avid poet and as yet unpublished fiction writer.

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