The time has come for a series within a series: the spine strengthening series (or as many of our teachers here refer to it affectionately: the belly down series).
Dr Alyisa Vishram “Love them or hate them, the postures of the Spine Strengthening Series are one of the best things you can do to maintain a lovely, healthy back!” If you want to know why Dr Vishram believes these 4 postures are the key to a healthy spine CLICK HERE for blog article.
Healthy Spine = Healthy Life …

 

… So we had better get started with Cobra.

bikram-yoga_17-8-2012_1621 – Lie down on your stomach, chin on the floor & place your hands (5 figures together) flat on the floor under your shoulders. Your fingers should be in line with the top of your shoulders. Not any higher, think thumb nipple alignment.2 – Distribute your body weight equally over your hands. Elbows touching the body, so your shoulders roll back and down.

3 – Create your cobra tail, by engaging your leg muscle and bringing your feet and heels together. If your legs are fully engaged your knees should be lifted off the floor. Think about lengthening your legs and pushing your hips into the floor, whilst squeezing your inner thighs together. No one said being a Cobra was easy, but we promise its worth it. The underside of you feet should remain flat on the floor throughout the posture.  You may find you need to gently press your feet down to prevent them lifting off the floor.  Your legs from hip to toe should be engaged, concrete, one leg, like the cobra that you are!

4 – Look up towards the ceiling. This is a little trick for you: where your eyes go your body will follow, so look up!

5 – Inhale, through your nose and lift your body up. This lift should come solely through back strength, your arms should play no role, other than in supporting you. You want to be using 100% back strength but to get you started allow 1 or 2% in your hands and arms, as your back strengthens, to help you lift. Come up half way, until only your from belly button is touching on the mat. For some people, the belly button may lift of the mat, it’s a body proportion thing. The instruction to have your belly button down on the mat, is to make sure we are utilising the right areas of our back and make sure we aren’t creating most of the bend in the lower back.

6 – Engage your abdomen. By engaging your abdomen here you are helping to protect the lower spine, whilst working to open the upper back.

bikram_jun10_1817 – Make sure your elbows are still in close touching the body. Move them further down towards your hips, so you in turn bring your shoulders down and help to create the beautiful arch backwards. Focus on contracting your upper-back muscles and pressing your shoulder blades into your back, to create space in the spine and open your chest.

 Your arms want to look like a L from the side. Keeping your abdomen engaged to support you, continue to press your upper spine in towards the front of your chest, creating a beautiful backbend – you are a cobra!

8 – Lift your chest up.

9 – Keep breathing.

10 – Shoulders down, feet pressing into the floor, legs engaged, locked out and together. Chest up, eyes looking up, go up one more time, freeze, breathe…. and gently come down.

11 – Left ear on the towel, arms down by your side & relax.

BHUJANGASANA
cobra

Benefits:

The arching of the spine increases flexibility and strength.
Rejuvenates spinal nerves, enriching them with a rich blood supply.
Tones and improves flexibility spinal muscles. Massages, works and tones back muscles.
Helps relieve and prevent lower backache.
Helps cure or relieve lumbago, rheumatism, arthritis and menstrual problems.
Helps cure loss of appetite.
Stretches the thoracic region and expands the ribcage. Brings relief from asthma.
The gentle pressure on the abdomen massages all organs and improves their function.
Strengthens deltoids, trapezius and triceps.
Compresses and opens spine.
Relieves spondylitis.
Improves concentration.
Helps relieve many utero-ovarine and menstrual problems.

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