Over the course of my life I have developed lot of strength in my upper back and arms, something that started with surfing and swimming and found its continuation in yoga. This is great for Plank Pose and Chaturanga Dandasana and also helps in soft backbends like Low Cobra aka Bhujangasana, since the muscles along the spine are responsible for the lifting of the head, shoulders and chest in this asana.
If you suffer from backpain you should work on strengthening the muscles along your spine to support a strong back and healthy posture. A few Low Cobras as part of your morning routine will awaken your spine and leave you feeling energized throughout the day.
How to get into the pose:
- From Chaturanga Dandasana, lower all the way to the ground.
- Rest your forehead on the ground, keeping the neck long and relaxed.
- Align your wrists with your lower ribs alongside your torso and spread your palms and fingers. Find a 90 degree angle between your wrists and forearms as well as forearms and upper arms.
- Draw your elbows in, lift your shoulderheads off the floor and away from your neck.
- Narrow the space between your shoulderblades as if you were holding a pen between them.
- Draw the pit of the abdomen up and in to support your lower back.
- Keep your legs hip distance apart and reach back through the toes.
- Press the tops of your feet into the mat so much that your kneecaps come off the floor and your legs become active and strong.
- On an inhalation, use the muscles alongside your spine to lift your forehead, shoulders and chest off the floor. Draw your hands energetically towards your heels and make sure that they do not hold any weight.
- Extend your sternum away from your navel as you reach your tailbone to the space between your heels.
- Unclench your buttocks.
- Keep the gaze slightly forward and the neck aligned with your spine.
Key actions while you are in the pose:
- Press the shoulder blades into the chest and broaden through the collarbones as you draw the front ribs towards the back ribs.
- Release the shoulder blades down the back and the upper trapezius muscle away from the ears.
- Firm the side hips in and lift the pit of the abdomen.
- Lift your inner thighs towards the ceiling and firm your outer thighs.
- Lengthen from the pubis to the navel to the sternum as you lengthen the buttocks towards the heels.
- Firm the inner and outer arches of your feet and reach back through the toes.
- Press down through all ten toes and widen the back of your thighs.