Yoga, Yoga Tutorials

Tutorial Tuesday – Cobra

March 1, 2016

Today I’m bringing you a Cobra Tutorial so you can get some more heart opening in your life. I really feel like this pose is so powerful, it’s one that I underestimated for the longest time, or just skimmed past without paying much attention. But once you settle in and give it some focus, the feeling of opening across the chest combined with strength in the arms is really tremendous. I hope this breakdown helps you to find that same wonderful feeling.

Getting into the pose:

Start laying on your belly with either the forehead or chin on the ground and the hands planted under the shoulders. The elbows should drawn in towards the sides of the body activating the muscles in the back. Press the tops of the feet into the ground so strongly that the quads engage and you feel the knees start to life up away from the ground. Take just a couple breaths here to feel the length in the body and imaging the tail bone reaching back behind you, encouraging length and openness in the low back.

Cobra Tutorial - Starting position

From here, very slowly begin to lift the gaze allowing the chin to hover above the floor. Keep the strength and alignment in the rest of the body and feel this action come from the strength between the shoulder blades. Feel the shoulder blades begin to draw down the back ribs.

Cobra Tutorial - Lifted gazeFrom here let the hands hover above the ground and continue to open the heart, lifting higher up off the ground, only using the strength of the back to lift up. Be very mindful of the low back as you’re here. If you encounter any pinching in the low back immediately lower back down to a level where you do not feel pinching. Check to make sure the tail bone is actively drawing back and down to keep the low back from crunching.

Cobra Tutorial - Hover hands

Remember that level and release the palms back down to the ground. This is your low cobra – the place where you are lifted only by the strength of the back.

Coba Tutorial - Low Cobra

Variations:

Cobra Tutorial - High Cobra
Deepen by pressing into the hands to very slowly lift up taller. As you do so, continue to reach the elbows back along the sides of the body, and draw the shoulder blades down. With each inhale feel the ribs expand and the chIMG_0150est open.

Draw the feet up towards the crown of the head to deepen into a full cobra. Be careful not to scrunch the low back and keep the stretch moving all across the front body. As you reach the legs up, you should feel the stretch move into the fronts of the hips and thighs as well as the chest. Be very mindful of any discomfort in the low back here, and skip this option if it becomes painful.

Tips, Tricks, and Modifications

If you encounter pinching in the low back at any point, that is your body’s way of telling you that you’ve gone too far. Listen closely and back off when you need to.

If it’s uncomfortable on the neck to gaze upwards, then keep the gaze forwards, but ensure that the shoulders are puling strongly back.

How do you feel about cobra pose? Is it difficult for you? Do you enjoy it?

 

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