Our Bikram Yoga series “Flow into Yoga” is back this week. Here’s the latest feature piece from Bikram Yoga Burr Ridge:
Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana is the first posture of the “spine strengthening series” which targets the lower back. Named after a king cobra, the pose is meant to resemble the snake as it is about to strike.
• Lay on your stomach with palms flat on floor.
• Keep your hands directly underneath your shoulders, fingertips in line with the tops of the shoulders.
• Keep your legs and feet together, strongly stretched down and back.
• Draw your shoulders down and keep your elbows in close to the ribs.
• Inhale and raise your torso off the floor to the belly button, using the strength of the spine and legs, not the arms. Remember this is not a push up!
• Keep arching your head and torso back until the belly button just touches the floor.
• Keep your gaze slightly raised and the weight off the hands.
• Hold your elbows in tight to the side of your body.
• Relax your facial muscles.
• Hold for 20 seconds.
• Lower your chin to the floor and turn to one side.
What makes Cobra Pose so challenging and beneficial is that you must overcome the resistance of the connective tissue and muscles in the front side of the body while back bending against gravity. The lower 1/3 of the spine is compressing. The upper 2/3 of the spine is stretching. Cobra increases spine strength and flexibility, helping to cure lumbago, rheumatism and arthritis of the spine. With all the stretching, posture improves. Cobra also strengthens the deltoid, trapezius and triceps. Cobra strengthens the lumbar spine, relieving pain and combatting slipped or herniated discs, scoliosis and arthritis in that region. In addition, it improves appetite, digestion and menstrual problems.
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