This feature is for those of you who are interested in yoga and want to make sure that you are actually doing the pose correctly. We will uncover the postrue with a step by step procedure of getting into the full pose with details on proper alignment. For one on one classes or small group classes we offer a similar in person structure to helping you properly align each foundation posture in our back care yoga program
Cobra pose is the fundamental chest opening and back strengthening pose. Cobra pose is extremely beneficial for those who suffer from lower back pain. However, it is essential that you can control the intensity of the pose- lifting too high and jerking into the pose can actually cause your back a lot of strain, move slowly while going into the pose and make sure you engage your muscles in your arms and back. In setting up the pose lie down on your abdomen, place your palms close to the sides of your body at chest level. If your hands are too far back it will put too much pressure in your shoulders and if your hands are too far forwards it will put too much pressure in the lumbar region of your spine. Ensure a stable foundation by placing your hands carefully shoulder distance apart and in line with your breastbone with your fingers spread wide.
To get into the pose engage your arms by pushing your palms down into the mat and squeeze your shoulder blades together. There are 3 stages of advancement of reaching the full pose: lift your chest, roll your shoulders down and arch your back. Take each stage as a prerequisite to move on to the next; there is no point trying to arch your back if your shoulders are hiked up towards your ears and your chest feels constricted. You should feel an expansion from the centre of your chest as you take deep inhalations and draw your shoulder blades closer along your back. Complete the stretch by looking up at the ceiling; you should feel a gentle curve developing from your head all the way down to your tailbone. Hold the pose as long as you feel comfortable, preferably at least for 5 deep breaths.
For those of you who have stiff shoulders and suffer from upper back pain this may be a very challenging pose as lifting the chest off the floor would feel very strenuous. If this is the case, place your elbows at chest level (where your palms would be) and simply walk your hands to the same line as the top of your head. Push your elbows and hands down into the mat and lift your neck and chest up. This takes the weight off your shoulders and allows for a greater opening across your chest. Maintain your attention on squeezing your shoulder blades together and rolling your shoulders back. When you are ready to come out of the pose engage your arms and slowly lower yourself down to the mat. Now that you know what to do and how to do it, respect your body and enjoy your practice!