Cobra or Bhujangasana belongs to the ‘back bends’ category of the yoga asanas. This beautiful posture has many health benefits, particularly for the lower back. Practiced regularly, Cobra helps to keep the natural curve in your lumbar spine- a place that tends to loose its curve and straighten as we age, causing problems.
How to do it-
Lye prone on your mat (Prone = on your belly).
Bring your legs together and press the tops of your feet, your legs and your pubis (pubic bone) into the mat.
Bring your palms onto the mat, directly underneath your shoulder blades.
Draw your elbows in towards the body and on an inhalation, slowly straighten your arms, raising your torso up.
Make sure you continue to press your pubis, legs and feet into the mat as you rise up.
Firm your shoulder blades against your back, raising the chest and sternum, but trying to keep the bottom ribs relaxed.
Stay in Cobra for 5-10 breaths.
Cobra – Bhujangasana is a lovely pose to notice the affects of the breath on the body in the asanas. As you inhale, notice how the breath allows you to come up a little higher in the pose.
I find it nice to start with a ‘baby’ Cobra before rising to my full capacity. Follow the guidelines above, but only come up very slightly. And then lift your palms off the mat and feel the height you have achieved through the extension of your spine and strength of your back muscles.
Counter Pose – Childs Pose / Balasana
Performing Cobra strengthens the spine.
It opens the heart and lungs by stretching the chest, shoulders and abdomen.
It massages and stimulates the body’s vital organs.
Relieves stress and fatigue.
Strengthens and tones the buttocks.
Do not perform Cobra if you are pregnant, have a headache, back injury or carpal tunnel syndrome.