Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

EFFECT: Heart opening, strengthens lower back.

PROPS: None.

GAZE: Slightly up

PRECEDING POSES: Plank, Chaturanga, Sphinx, Half Forward Fold

COUNTERPOSES: Down Dog, Standing Forward Fold

PRECAUTIONS: If you have lower back issues, keep your chest low and do not fully straighten your arms

STEPS:

1. Lie facedown on your mat. Bend your elbows and place your hands alongside your lower ribs so that your elbows are stacked directly over your wrists.

2. Press the tops of your feet into the mat. Roll your inner thighs toward the ceiling as you hug your outer ankles in. Relax your glutes.

3. On an inhale, press into your hands and use the muscles of your lower back to lift your chest of the ground. Keep your shoulders relaxed away from your ears as you draw them back and down. Start to work your arms toward straight, but stop as soon as you feel your shoulders bunching up toward your ears.

TIP: This pose can be a pretty deep back bend if you straighten your arms all the way. Only lift so high that you can keep your chest wide and your shoulders relaxed.

FYI: I’ve been practicing for a long time, and I still don’t straighten my arms all the way in this pose.

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