Asana of the Month: Bhujangasana - Cobra Pose
September 01, 2012
In Bhujangasana the body is face down. The upper part of the body extends upwards and backwards, resembling the raised hood of the eponymous serpent. The cobra is always practiced as the first asana in the series of extensions. Its effect is to gently arch the spine backwards, promoting flexibility in the lower back in particular, the lumbar area of the spine. The gentle pressure that this pose exerts to support the abdomen also has a beneficial effect of massaging the internal organs. PHYSICAL AND MENTAL BENEFITS OF BHUJANGASANA 1. Arching the spine increases its flexibility, rejuvenates the spinal nerves and gives a greater blood supply. Gives the column a greater extension capacity. 2. The spine receives a powerful stretch. Each vertebra improves its extension capacity obtaining a greater blood supply. All pairs of spinal nerves and muscles of the spine are rejuvenated. 3. Systematic practice of Bhujangasana relieves hunchbacks, back pain, lumbago, and back myalgia. 4. This asana works, massages and tones the muscles of the back, particularly in the lumbar region, which is thus relieved of the fatigue caused by sedentary work in chairs. 5. It also stretches the thoracic region of the spine, expanding the chest cavity, giving the rib cartilage greater elongation capacity and consequently increasing lung capacity. Many people find relief from chronic asthma and other respiratory ailments through regular cobra practice. 6. Bhujangasana is a powerful tonic, particularly useful for women. The ovaries and the uterus are toned due to the pressure that the position exerts on this area. It is a powerful tonic that helps relieve many menstrual and uterine and ovarian problems. Combat amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, leukorrhea and other disorders of the reproductive system. However, this asana should not be practiced by pregnant women. 7. This asana massages, tones and strengthens both the deep and superficial muscles of the back and abdominal region. The exerted abdominal pressure combats constipation. 8. The abdomen must be kept on the ground during the practice of the posture. This increases intra-abdominal pressure and improves the toning of all the abdominal viscera. 9. Bhujangasana increases body heat and destroys countless ailments. 10. Promotes a smooth flow of prana within the body. INSTRUCTIONS TO EXECUTE THE POSTURE We extend the upper part of the back backwards, feeling the extension of the vertebrae slowly, one by one, noticing how the pressure descends from the cervical to the lumbar and finally to the sacral region. We keep the elbows close to the sides of the body, which remains in contact with the ground from the navel to the feet. We move the shoulders away from the ears and look up, opening the chest well. We breathe deeply and calmly in this posture. With an exhalation, we undo the posture by descending slowly, first with the abdominal area and then with the upper part of the thorax, with the chin, mouth, nose and forehead. It is very important that we undo the posture slowly, because the muscles that work in this phase are different from those that are exercised in its placement. Undoing the posture should take the same time as its preparation. We make a pillow with the arms, placing the head on one side. We repeat the exercise three times, gradually holding the pose for a little longer each time. We breathe deeply, feeling the abdominal area, relaxing the neck, shoulders and back. The toes remain together and the heels fall to the sides. To compensate for the work on the neck muscles (mainly scalenes and exernocleidomastoid) we place the head on the pad formed by the arms once to the right and once to the left. Relax the body and breathe deeply after the series of three repetitions of the posture. SOME VARIATIONS OF THE POSTURE Posture with arms stretched behind the back Front on the ground, arms stretched behind the back, hands intertwined, inhale, raise the torso, raise arms to the ceiling, breathe, hold the position for 20 seconds, and gently lower to the ground as you exhale. Pose with arms folded behind the back Front on the ground, arms bent behind the back, hold the elbows with the hands, inhale, raise the torso, raise the arms up as far as we can, breathe in, hold the pose for about 20 seconds and gently lower to the ground on exhalation. King Cobra We assemble the basic posture as specified above, extend the spine backwards as much as possible and bend the knees, bringing the feet towards the head until they touch it. We make a pillow with our hands, placing them under one cheek. The big toes touch, and the heels fall out. We breathe deeply through the abdomen feeling the pressure of it against the ground. We thank Yoga Sivananda Madrid for sharing with you an article about yoga asanas every month. More information on postures and articles related to yoga, you will find on the website of Yoga Sivananda Madrid.