BHUJANGASANA

Cobra Posture

(Bhujanga = Serpent/snake, Asana = Posture)

 

Step by step instructions:

 

1.   Lie flat on the mat, on your belly, forehead on the floor. Legs extended back, with the top of your feet pressing on the mat. Arms flexed at the elbows, hands spread out underneath your shoulders. Tug your elbows in, close to your body. Feet hip width distance apart.  

 

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2.   With your pelvis, thighs and the top of your feet pressed firmly on the floor, on an inhalation, lift your head and peel your chest off the floor gently. Try to straighten your arms to push you up further, contracting your trapezius, drawing your shoulders away from your ears, and lift your chest and abdomen up. Extend your spine vertebrae by vertebrae, while maintaining your pelvis, and the top of your legs on the floor.

 

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3.   Keep your gluteal muscles firm but not hard, to protect your lower back. Keep your core engaged. Distribute the spinal extension evenly throughout your spine.

 

4.   Hold for 5 breaths, with each inhalation, drawing yourself up deeper into the pose.

 

5.   Exhale and slowly release the pose by bringing your chest back on the floor. Push yourself up into Balasana for counterpose.

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Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SDVsZI6x40

 

Muscles activated:

  • Shoulders and arms – Triceps engaged to straighten the elbows, infraspinatus and teres minor rotate the shoulders outward to open up the chest, lower trapezius draws shoulders down and back (away from the ears)
  • Trunk – Erector spinae muscles arch the back; psoas and abdominals combined to stabilize the pelvis and protect the lower back
  • Legs and pelvis – Gluteal muscles extend hips, and tilt pelvis downward, rotating hips inward; quadriceps contract firmly to straighten the knees, tibialis anterior press the top of the feet firmly on the floor

 

Benefits:

  • Physical – Strengthens spine, stretches the anterior body, stimulates digestive organs, relieves menstrual cramps
  • Mental – Relieves stress

 

Precaution:

  • Back injury
  • Wrist pain or injury
  • Do not extend from the lower back, as this will create undue strain

 

Contraindication:

  • Pregnancy
  • Abdominal surgeries

 

Counter poses:

  • Balasana
  • Paschimottanasana

 

 

Amelia Z. (200 hr Yoga TTC 07/14 Weekend)