Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose
This week's pose is cobra pose also known as Bhujangasana, pronounced boo-jang-GAHS-anna. Cobra pose is great for the spine and relieving stress. It is one of my personal favorites.
Start by lying flat on your stomach. Place your feet together with the tops against the floor. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders and hug your elbows against your rib cage. Take a few breaths.
On a inhale, straighten your arms and lift your chest from the floor. Be mindful as you extend your arms. Do not fully straighten them if this feels uncomfortable. Rather, extend through and deepen your stretch to create a graceful, even arc in your back. Use the stretch in your legs and back, instead of exerting yourself to gain height and risk overarching the spine. Keep your shoulders broad, but relaxed, with the blades low on your back.
Lift from the top of your sternum, but avoid pushing the front of your ribs forward. Rather, puff your side ribs forward and keep your lower back relaxed. Try to distribute the stretch evenly along your spine. Breathe calmly and hold here for 5 to 10 breaths. As you exhale, gently release your body back to the floor.
Benefits of Cobra Pose:
- Stretches muscles in the shoulders, chest and abdominals
- Decreases stiffness of the lower back
- Strengthens the arms and shoulders
- Increases flexibility
- Improves menstrual irregularities
- Elevates mood
- Firms and tones the buttocks
- Invigorates the heart
- Stimulates organs in the abdomen, like the kidneys
- Relieves stress and fatigue
- Opens the chest and helps to clear the passages of the heart and lungs
- Improves circulation of blood and oxygen, especially throughout the spinal and pelvic regions
- Improves digestion
- Strengthens the spine
- Soothes sciatica
- Helps to ease symptoms of asthma