Cobra – Bhujangasana– Bhujanga = Serpent
The cobra is a great posture for, amongst other things, increasing the spine’s flexibility and strength (read on to find out about its other benefits too). Here’s how to do it.
- Start by lying down on your front, with your forehead resting on the floor and your hands in front of, or under your shoulders, with palms flat on the floor.
- Inhale and lift yourself up using your back muscles, slowly lifting your head, neck and shoulders. Then push up through your hands and lift your body higher and arch your back, spread the arch equally from your lower back up to your neck, as if taking it around a large beach ball. Keep your elbows bent and tucked in to your body.
- Drop and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you exhale.
- Look forwards or up to the sky as you continue to breathe.
- Your pubic bone and hips should maintain contact with the ground.
- To come out of the pose slowly lower yourself back to the ground one vertebra at a time and turn your head on one side to rest.
PHYSICAL / MEDICAL BENEFITS
Cobra extends the spine, increasing its flexibility and strength, relieving backache by stimulating circulation and nerves. It opens the chest, heart area and lungs, improving blood circulation and breathing, so is good for relieving symptoms of asthma. It stretches the entire front of the body. Tones the abdomen and buttocks and strengthens the arms and back muscles. Also massages abdominal organs, particularly kidneys, adrenal glands and liver, improving appetite, digestion and elimination. Good for circulating prana around the body, so reduces tiredness.
MENTAL / EMOTIONAL BENEFITS
Cobra reduces stress and anxiety. Opening the chest leads to opening up the emotions allowing you to let go. Visualisation – to assist in opening up and let go of your emotions visualise a cobra shedding its skin and rejuvenating.
People with hernias, peptic ulcers, hyperthyroidism or intestinal tuberculosis should only perform this posture under professional advice.Avoid during pregnancy
SPIRITUAL / CHAKRAS
Sacral chakra Swadhisthana chakra – located 1 to 2 inches below the navel – responsible for intuition, creativity and promotes a sense of belonging.