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Yoga Posture for the Month of January – The Cobra
January 15th, 2018
The Cobra – Bhujangasana
The cobra can be a challenging posture. It is well-known and most people will recognise the position, lying on your tummy and raising up into a graceful curve of the back with the head facing forward. To practise the posture well, there are a number of steps and preparation is important.
Improves flexibility in the spine
Improves strength in the arms
Helps to free the shoulders
Stretches the chest and ribs and helps to deepen your breathing
How prepare for it
Work on shoulder rotations. If your shoulders can move freely then you will be able to stretch the upper chest area and work into the top of your spine more easily
Develop strength in your arms. Stand or sit and extend your arms out in front of you, then gently pull back your hands towards you, keeping your arms straight. Feel the forearms and upper arms working hard and be careful not to strain your wrists.
Practise the cat so that you have a sense of where your spine is tight and where it is more flexible. This will help you to stretch your spine more evenly when you go into cobra.
How to do it
Lie on the floor on your tummy with your forehead on your mat and your legs straight out behind you and gently touching each other
Wriggle your shoulders down and away from your ears so that you lengthen your neck
Feel your pelvis in contact with the floor – you will keep this contact throughout the posture
Bring your arms up alongside you, palms down and place your hands level with your eyes when your forehead is resting on the mat, keeping your elbows tucked in by your sides.
Using your hands for support, gently edge your body forwards and begin to feel your upper chest easing away from the floor.
Rest on your forearms and breathe gently, experiencing the movement in the spine and the stretch in the upper thighs
Continue to raise your spine for as long as you are comfortable, feeling more of your spine lifting from the floor and your head raising
Breathe evenly and only go as far as you can comfortably manage
After a few breaths, gently and carefully lower your spine to your mat and lower your face to the mat
Relax your arms to your sides
Things to watch
Keep your awareness on your spine
Ensure both hips remain on the ground throughout the practice
Use your arms to control the movement – keep them bent until your spine is ready to move further, then you can begin to straighten them
Focus on your breathing, extending the breath out as you remain in the posture – this will help you to develop the stretch in the spine
Avoid over-flexing the area of your spine which is most supple – focus on the tighter areas
Link for more info about The Cobra, Bhujangasana: https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/cobra-pose
Furthermore, here’s this week’s class notes from Izzy http://www.izzyyoga.co.uk/class-notes
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