Cobra Pose
by Jennifer Arnold

bhujanga= serpent
asana = pose

1. Lie on your belly with your forehead on the ground. Place your hands, palms down, beside your upper ribs. Be sure that your elbows are pointing toward the ceiling and drawing together. Feel your shoulders pull gently away from your ears.

2. With your toes pointing toward the wall behind you, stretch back through your legs. Keep your legs active and strong. Reach your tailbone toward your heels. Feel your pubic bone press into the ground and your belly hollow out.

3. With an inhalation, begin to peel your chest away from the ground. Keep your shoulders heavy and your shoulder blades drawing down your back. Gently begin to straighten your arms as your chest lifts and broadens, while maintaining the connection of your pubic bone to the ground. The elbows will remain slightly bent. Keep your gaze forward.

4. Hold for 3 – 5 breaths. Exhale and release back down. Rest your head on your forearms.

For some, this backbend might be a bit strong to start. If you are feeling any discomfort in your low back (lumbar spine), try keeping your forearms on the ground. Be sure that your elbows are directly under your shoulders and your forearms are parallel with each other. Press down through your palms, forearms, and elbows. Lift your chest from here. Remember – the key to this and all other backbends is to maintain the strength of your legs. So regardless of which variation you try, keep your legs strong!

Increases flexibility in the spine; opens the chest; strengthens the back; stimulates thyroid, kidneys, and adrenals; improves digestion; teaches alignment and movements required for deeper backbends.