So just what are yoga poses (asana)? They are positions we place our bodies in, we explore them with our mind, our breath, we embody the qualities. We’ll cover two in this article, Cobra and Child Poses. A lot of poses have names that refer to animals or reptiles or formations, for example cobra (Sanskrit: Bhujangasana (boo-jang-GAHS-anna); meaning: bhujanga = serpent, snake, asana = pose or posture).
Step by Step
- Lie face down on the floor. Lengthen your legs back, tops of the feet nestled into the floor. Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Hug the elbows back into your body and down toward the waist.
- Lengthen the tops of the feet and thighs and press the pubis firmly down into the floor.
- On an inhalation, begin to peel the head, shoulders and ribs off the floor, straightening the arms a bit, they shouldn’t be completely straight. Be mindful to only go to the height at which you can maintain a connection through your pubic bone, through your legs. Lengthen the tailbone toward the heels and lift the pubis toward the navel center (zipping up the front). Narrow the hip points. Firm, but don’t harden, the buttocks.
- Firm the shoulder blades against the back ribs, puff the side ribs forward. Lengthen through the top of the sternum and head, but avoid pushing the front ribs forward (which will harden the lower back). Distribute the length of the backbend evenly throughout the entire spine.
- Hold the pose anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. Release back to the floor with an exhalation. Push back into Child’s pose
Working in the pose:
- Can you feel the length of the front spine?
- Can you feel the strength and length with the legs nestling into the floor?
- Can you embody a snake, fluid, boneless, can you broaden your shoulders like a cobra?
Observe, breathe, enjoy, release – rest in child pose (Sanskrit: Balasana (bah-LAHS-anna) meaning: bala = child; asana = pose or posture)
These poses are especially helpful when we have issues in the lower abdomen. Moving from opening the lower and upper belly in Cobra to compressing in child can help bring balance to the lower 3 chakra. Practice patiently. Follow the breath. Invite expanse and balance.