Yoga Asana: Cobra Pose

Cobra pose, also known as Bhujangasana, is a wonderful pose for chest-opening and spine flexibility. First, it allows for deeper breathing through the expansion of the chest, and can alleviate problems with rheumatism, arthritis, and other pain in the back. Cobra also massages the organs below the belly, helping with problems of the stomach, liver and kidneys, as well as gynecological issues for women.

Pushing too far in this pose can result in injuring your lower back, so know your limits when practicing this back bend. Start by lying face-down with your hands hugged in by your ribs. On an inhale, and without using your arms (yet), raise your head and shoulders as high as they will comfortably go. Then, keeping your pelvic bone touching the floor, press through your arms to raise your chest up and forward. If there is any pain in the back, bend your elbows until it does not hurt. Keep the shoulders completely relaxed, so that they drop down and back, which allows the chest to open to its fullest.

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