Photo courtesy of yogajournal.com
You may commonly use Cobra pose during the traditional Sun Salutation Sequence. Cobra is a modified Upward Facing Dog pose. And is great to utilize instead of the full Updog when you are wanting a more restful practice. This pose is great for:
- Strengthens the spine
- Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders and abdomen
- Firms the buttocks
- Stimulates abdominal organs
- Helps relieve stress and fatigue
- Opens the heart and lungs Soothes sciatica
- Therapeutic for asthma
- Traditional texts say that Cobra increases body heat, destroys disease and awakens Kundalini
Directions on how to come into the pose:
Lie prone on your belly. Stretching your legs back and be on the tops of your feet. Bring your hands under your shoulders, hugging the elbows in towards your rib cage. As you press into your feet, thighs and pubis firmly into the floor, inhale and press your hands into the floor beginning to straighten the arms as you lift your head neck and chest away from the mat. Stage one is maintaining here with navel still on the mat. Stage two, when you are ready, straightening arms more coming up further but still keep the knees, thighs and tops of your feet pressing firmly into the mat. Stage three, bringing the arms back further to the lower part of your rib cage and then lifting up for a low Updog position.
Actively draw the shoulders down away from the ear so that they are not “turtling” the neck. Firm shoulder blades against the back with side ribs forward. Lift through the top of the sternum, avoiding pushing the front ribs forward. This gentle back-bend needs balance in distribution throughout the entire spine. Elongate your neck but try not to look straight up. Imagine the orange on the back or your neck so that you aren’t crunching the neck too much. There should be space to elongate and not crush the “orange”.
Hold for 15 to 30 seconds utilizing slow deep breaths. And on your exhalation release back to floor.
When not to do this pose or to modify/Contraindications:
You may need avoid or modify this pose if you have back injury, Carpel tunnel syndrome, headache or are pregnant. You may modify here with Sphinx pose, especially if you have wrist issues.
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