Bhujangasana or The Cobra Pose – yoga asana for beginners
Bhujanga = Cobra/Serpent
Quite often people believe Yoga is only for the supple and flexible, the thin and more or less fit and disciplined individual. However, that’s as far from the truth as one can get.
The beauty of Yoga is that it caters to everyone whatever their age, or physical condition. Having said this, one must also quickly point out that Yoga is so powerful that an expert teacher guiding a beginner is essential.
Yoga consists not just of series of postures that involve contorting the body in ever more complicated ways. There are many relatively simple poses that are just as powerful and effective.
Today’s pose — Bhujangasana — is one such. While it engages the whole body, developing focus and concentration, calming the mind and reducing stress, it is primarily one that strengthens the back.
As a beginner, DO NOT arch your back beyond your comfort level. It is also advisable to go for a low cobra, raising your head and neck in a straight line slightly above the ground. Hold this pose for a few days before graduating to a full back-arching one.
Lie on your belly and bring both palms flat beside your shoulders.
Spread your feet gently and allow your heels to drop out with your toes pointing inwards.
Breathe in; breathe out and tighten your abdominal muscles, and begin raising your chest above the ground.
Take care not to dump all your weight on your hands, rather pushing away from the mat and using your stomach muscles to hold up your upper torso.
Tighten your buttock muscles to protect the back.
Breathe gently into your upper chest; make sure your head is in line with your neck.
Close your eyes and hold the posture for 30 seconds, increasing the duration as you get more consistent with the posture.
This one is a full body-toning posture massaging the internal organs, particularly the abdominal muscles. It’s excellent to strengthen the back, the buttocks and makes the spine more flexible. It’s a great heart-opener and helps improve lung capacity. The deep stretch boosts blood circulation and helps combat stress and fatigue. It provides relief for mild neck and shoulder aches caused by the muscles in this area bunching up after hours spent hunched over a laptop.
(Caution: It’s a good rule of thumb to remember to leave around 2 hours between a meal and an Asana, as most postures require that your stomach is relatively empty. Pregnant women and those with severe back and neck issues should avoid Bhujangasana and consult their Yoga instructor.)
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