One of the problems I have had in adding a regular physical exercise routine to my life has been a nagging, aching back problem. While I know exercise is good for my back, it is often tough to participate fully in many activities due to a low-back disc problem I have. In fact, one of the main reasons yoga appealed to me was the idea of increasing the flexibility and strength in my lower back. I’ve gotta tell you- I found the perfect yoga posture for quick, long-lasting relief from my back pain- and I couldn’t be happier!
It’s called the Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
- To move into the Cobra Pose, start by lying flat on the floor on your belly. Your palms should be flat on the floor and your elbows close to your body. Place your forehead on the floor. (It it’s too uncomfortable to keep your forehead on the floor, start with your nose or your chin on the floor.) Stretch your legs back, so the tops of your feet are lying flat on the floor. Push the lower half of your body (hips, thighs and the tops of your feet down firmly into the floor
- Breathe in and while you do, straighten your arms to lift your chest up off the floor. Only go until you reach a height where you can continue to push your pelvic area and legs down firmly. Feel your whole body lengthen. Look upward at about a 45-degree angle.
- Imagine yourself being lifted by the crown of your head to get the correct forward movement. Keep your breathing even and deeply- lifting upward with the inhale and settling with the exhale.
- Keep your buttocks relaxed during this pose, don’t tighten up
- Hold the pose for as long as you are comfortable. When you release the pose, exhale and let your forehead drop back to the floor.
You won’t believe the relief the Cobra pose will bring to your lower back. It’s also excellent for strengthening those abs-which is excellent for helping your back in the longer term. It also helps to open up your chest and shoulder area. It’s very soothing if you suffer from sciatica. The Cobra pose is believed to increase your body heat and destroy disease as it stretches your chest and lungs, your shoulders and your abdomen. As with any type of exercise when you have a back condition, use some caution when you move into this pose. Don’t strain, just take it gentle- that’s key when performing any yoga posture. Nothing in yoga is ever intended to be harsh or jerky. Just gently ease your body into and out of the positions- and keep breathing!