Cobra pose begins the remarkable 4-posture spine strengthening series. The benefits of spine strengthening are many; beginning with nourishment to intervertebral discs and ending with a strong upright posture, which allows our internal organs to function with proper space and circulation for optimal health. Cobra pose is the first posture of this 4-posture series and focuses primarily on lower back health and core stabilizing muscles.
Begin by lying belly down on your mat. Lengthen the front of your throat so your chin is forward. Tuck your hands under your shoulders so your elbows are bent up toward the ceiling like flexed grasshopper legs. Make sure your arms are framing your body tight and that your hands/elbows are not placed too wide to begin.
Pull in your abdomen and lengthen your tailbone at the same time to create dynamic energy in your lower back, pelvic, and core muscles. Squeeze your legs together and press the tops of your feet firmly into the floor. Now you are braced for action!
With a full breath, lengthen the crown of your head forward and up, pulling the spine into a back-bending shape without the use of your hands. This is not a push-up! Your hands are there to frame your body and help provide the necessary spatial boundaries for spinal isolation. Remember, this pose is designed to strengthen your spine, not your arms.
Keep opening the chest as your lift your head up, and always hold on to your core strength. As a goal, we hope to back-bend enough that we are lifted all the way to the navel. Stretch your spine forward as you lift it up to ensure proper energy tone throughout the posture. Keep lengthening for 20-30 seconds and then slowly release the energy, bringing your spine out of the flexion, and your chin back to the mat.
Cobra pose is a low back and core stabilizing posture. Generally speaking, our lower spinal area (both back and front) tends to take on the most pressure from our postural imperfections and habitual body movements. Therefore, it is extremely therapeutic and helpful to stabilize this area of the body. When there is low back and core health, our spine is seated in a strong base. The flexion of the spine in the supported back-bend shape of cobra pose also restores and revitalizes flexibility. So, at its most evolved expression, cobra pose starts the process of building “pliable strength” of the spine.