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Poses

Cobra Pose / Bhujangasana

Yoga pose: Cobra Pose/Bhujangasana
Step by step
  • Lie on your stomach, toes pointing straight back, hands underneath the shoulders, elbows close to the body. Legs engaged, roll inner thighs inward, but keep the heels pointing up, pull the belly in and up and the forehead on the floor.
  • On an inhalation, lift from the back of your heart to bring your chest up. Roll the collarbones up and firm the shoulder blades into the upper back, a little down along the spine.
  • Then lift your head, open your heart, with no weight in the hands yet. Extend out through the toes.
  • Come down again on an outbreath. You can repeat that two times..
  • The third time when you come up, you can help with the hands and come up higher. Lift your chest first (from the back of your heart), head follows. Firm the tailbone in towards the pubis and draw the lower belly in and up. Come up all the way up to a point where it feels good to you, still maintaining a connection from the pelvis to the legs.
  • Bring the side ribs forward, draw the upper arm bones back, lengthen the neck.
  • Feel the backbend through the entire spine.
  • In the final pose you can look up, but only if you maintain length in the back of the neck and for that your chest needs to be really open and you need to be able to lift through the sternum. To keep your neck safe, keep the back of the neck long at all times.
  • Hold the pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
  • To come out, lower the body down on an exhalation and give your body a minute rest, or you push yourself into Child's Pose and rest there for a minute or so.
     

Or watch this short tutorial by Sandra Carson

Beginners tips
  • Take your time in this backbend. Only go so far as it feels comfortable. Keep your belly pulled in and up and lower back long. Maintain the connection with your hips on the floor.
  • Keep an eye on your shoulders - keep them away from your ears and the base of the neck relaxed.
  • Point your elbows backwards rather than out to the sides.

Keep elbows bent in the beginning - only going as high as feels comfortable

Benefits
  • Strengthens legs, upper back, arms and shoulders.
  • Stretches the front of the body.
  • Energizes. 
  • Relieves mild depression.
Watch out for...
  • If you feel a strain in your lower back, it means you are going too far. Lower yourself slightly, you can even come onto your forearms.
  • If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome or headaches or you are pregnant, this pose should be avoided or performed under supervision.
Variations
  • If you are very flexible in this pose you can get a stronger backbend by walking your hands slightly closer to your torso, straightening and lengthening the arms.
Complementary poses
Try it in class

Fundamentals of yoga: build up your backbends - for members only

Teacher: Adela Serrano
Level: 1,2
Duration: 45 mins

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