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


Yoga poses relax your body, unite your body and mind and release stress. The seated Yoga Mudra or seated seal pose releases tension in the muscles of your upper body and opens up your chest. It takes a little time to master the correct form of this pose, but it is one of the easier postures to master. This seated nature of this pose places a lot of stress on your knees and ankles. Make sure your leg joints are in good shape before considering using this pose to stretch your upper body.

The Seated Yoga Mudra

  • This pose begins by sitting on the floor. Here, you can either place the tops -- dorsal surface -- of both feet flat on the ground or you may sit with your toes curled under so you are resting on the balls of your feet. Then you grasp your hands together behind your back. Raise your arms as you lean your head toward the ground. When your forehead touches the ground, bring your hands over your head and hold. You will feel the muscles of your neck, chest and shoulders stretch as your arms lift up.


  • Your neck will elongate as your arms rise higher in the air. This stretches the trapezius and splenius capitus that respectively run along the top of your shoulders and up the back of your neck. Stretching these two muscles reduces rear neck pain. This portion of the pose may also help reduce painful headaches.


  • Throughout your arm movement, you will be working and stretching the muscles of your shoulders. This includes the posterior section of your deltoids. Stretching this region releases tension from the shoulders and the triceps of your upper arms. Stop the forward movement of your arms when you feel the pull in the shoulders. Avoid bouncing your hands forward to gain additional movement, otherwise you could hurt your shoulders.

Chest and Core

  • As your shoulder muscles elongate, they will pull your pectoral muscles away from the center of your chest. This stretches the muscles as it opens your chest. The result is less restrictive breathing and a natural relaxation. At this point, close your eyes and enjoy the moment. As you lower your arms, your muscles will feel stretched and more relaxed than before you began the pose.

Safety Considerations

  • Do not attempt this pose if your knees, ankles and shoulders are injured. One shoulder injury to mind involves the rotator cuff. As your shoulders roll forward, this section of your shoulder will rotate through a large arc. A small injury to the cuff can quickly turn into a serious injury when your shoulder muscles stretch. As for your knees, they will be holding the weight of your upper body for a short time in a retracted state.


  • Photo Credit Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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