Trying to listen to alignment cues in a yoga class and understanding the right positioning can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a complete beginner and simply trying to just keep up!

That’s why every month I will break down a pose, show you how to get into it safely, highlight its benefits and offer one or two top tips. This week we are looking at Bhujangasana or literally translated ‘Cobra Pose’.

Establishing the Foundation of the pose

  1. Begin by lying on your belly, chin to the floor, palms flat to the mat just beneath your shoulders
  2. Firm the thighs and lengthen the tailbone towards the end of the mat
  3. Press the tops of the feet and the pubis into the floor
  4. Hug the elbows towards the rib cage

Moving Into the Pose

  1. On the inhalation, without pressing into the hands, begin to lengthen the spine to lift the head and chest forwards and upwards off the floor
  2. Keeping the neck in line with the spine, only go as far as possible without losing the engagement of the pubis and the legs
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Moving into the pose

Maintaining the Pose

  1. Continue to press the tops of the feet into the mat, the tailbone towards the pubis, the pubis towards the navel and keep the thighs firm
  2. Keep hugging the elbows towards the ribs and slide the shoulder blades down the back extending the sternum forward and upwards
  3. Stay here for a couple of breaths

Completing the Pose

  1. On the exhalation, gently lower the chest and the head to the mat to rest on one cheek

Benefits
Strengthens the spine

Don’t Do If…

  • You have carpal tunnel syndrome 
  • You have back, shoulder, arm or wrist injury
  • You’re pregnant or have had recent abdominal surgery
  • You have a headache
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A modification of the pose

Modifications
Increase the bend in the elbows to release any pressure on the lower back or move into Sphinx Pose by sliding the elbows forward to position beneath the shoulders

Notes

  • Forcing the spine into more of a backbend can result in pain or injury.
  • A helpful tip to know if you have gone too far is to raise the hands off the floor momentarily.
  • The height the spine naturally finds will be through extension and is a good place to work from.