Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose

Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose

Bhujangasana (boo-jang-GAHS-anna) is a great way to strengthen the upper back and is often practiced as part of a transition back to downward-facing dog in vinyasa yoga. Practicing cobra pose regularly can improve your lung capacity, reduce stress, and stimulate many of the internal organs in your body.

Philosophy + Origin

Although often perceived as evil or dangerous, snakes also have a rich history of power and worship. In some yoga traditions, the energy of kundalini is represented by a serpent resting coiled at the base of the spine. By awakening this snake, we enliven our body’s energy and create a pathway towards enlightenment. This connection with enlightenment is also seen in many portrayals of the Buddha where he is shown with a cobra over his head.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Option to swap cobra pose for sphinx pose by placing your forearms on the floor.
  • Lengthen the back of the neck to avoid straining the neck and upper back.
  • If you experience discomfort in the lower back, bend the elbows more.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Lie on the floor on your belly. Extend your legs behind you with the tops of your feet on the floor. Place your hands palm down on the floor a couple inches away from your shoulders. Squeeze your elbows towards your body rather than letting them splay out to the sides.
  2. Press firmly down through the tops of your feet and your thighs. Draw your tailbone toward the ground.
  3. On an inhale, reach your chest forward and up. Draw your shoulders away from your ears.
  4. Stay here or press into your palms and begin to straighten your elbows. Keep your legs engaged as you lift your chest forward and up.
  5. Stay in the pose for up to 30 seconds.
  6. To release, lower your body as you exhale and rest on the floor.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

COUNTER POSES:

SANSKRIT:

  • Bhujanga = snake
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Strengthens muscles of the back
  • Increases flexibility in the spine
  • Strengthens glutes

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Relieves stress and fatigue
  • Awakens kundalini
  • Opens heart and throat chakras


Viparita Virabhadrasana: Reverse Warrior Pose

Viparita Virabhadrasana: Reverse Warrior Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

In viparita virabhadrasana (VIP-uh-REE-tuh veer-uh-buh-DRAHS-uh-nuh), experience a member of the “warrior” family with an incredible opening in the side of the torso as well as the stretching the legs. By giving the side of your heart an opportunity to shine (as a side bend rather than a back bend), this posture offers all sorts of positive vibes, including a boost of self-esteem and perseverance.

Philosophy + Origin

The general definition of a warrior is someone who “engages in warfare,” which conjures up images of battlefields, weapons, and violence. The power of reverse warrior is to “turn around” this imagery to think about warriorship in different contexts. The idea of a peaceful warrior, or even a light warrior, is used in yoga to remind students that showing up with love and intention in day-to-day life is just as important, if not more so. When practicing reverse warrior, ask yourself to consider definitions or beliefs in your life from another perspective. There are two sides to each coin, and the better you know both sides, the better prepared you will be to live your life with steadiness, grace, and ease.

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