Cobra Pose is the first pose in the spine-strengthening series. In Cobra, you are working all the muscles of your spine, tailbone to the neck, but the focus of your effort – and the major recipient of the benefits – is your lower spine.
This posture creates strength, space, and flexibility in your lower back, all of which help to relieve and prevent the lumbar pain that plague so many of us.
The more precision, effort, and determination you put into Cobra, the more benefits your lower back will receive. A strong, determined, well-aligned Cobra makes the other postures in the spine-strengthening series easier.
Below you’ll find a list of benefits and some specific, detailed tips for getting the most out of Cobra pose, but the two most important things teachers will remind you of this month are:
- Use your lower body strength to power this posture. Quads and inner thighs tight and contracted, glutes tight, heels touching, feet on the floor.
- Get your elbows to a 90-degree angle. Begin with back strength, and then put some weight into your hands to push yourself up until you reach an exact 90-degree angle. This creates the compression into your spine that will facilitate the therapeutic benefits.
Benefits of Cobra Pose:
- Increases spine strength, especially in the lower spine.
- Increases spine flexibility.
- Relieves and prevents lower back pain.
- Improves posture.
- Improves digestion.
- Improves kidney, liver and spleen function.
- Strengthens the deltoids, trapezius, and triceps muscles in the upper body.
- Strengthens quadratus lumborum, psoas, piriformis, hip adductors, and gluteal muscles in the lower body.
Tips for Practice:
- Listen carefully during the set-up for this posture – it’s long, but every detail matters!
- When you first lift your chest up off the floor, see how far you can go using 100% back strength, powered by your contracted lower extremities. You can’t squeeze your glutes hard enough in this posture. Squeeze, squeeze, and squeeze again!
- Use your eyes to initiate the movement in your upper body. Look up and look back, as if you are looking up through your eyebrows.
- You can quickly shift your gaze down or into the mirror to check the angle of your elbows, if it’s hard to feel whether or not they are at 90 degrees. If they are not yet at 90, put some body weight into your flat-on-the-floor palms, and push yourself up. Do not go beyond a 90 degree angle.
- Make sure your belly button stays anchored to the floor for the entire posture.
- Tuck your elbows in, touching the sides of your body.
- Relax your shoulders down toward the floor.
- Tighten your gluteal muscles again, and stretch your toes toward the back wall, lengthening your legs and creating additional space in the lower back.