In honor of Chinese New Year, which takes place Sunday, February 10th, I thought I’d focus on this year’s Chinese zodiac sign — the serpent — specifically, the water snake. Bhujangasana also known as cobra, serpent or snake pose, is said to awaken Kundalini or feminine energy. Kundalini, sanksrit for ‘coiled snake’ is believed to reside at the base of the spine. Kundalini can be “awakened” or “aroused” from its “slumber” by intense meditation, breath control and yoga practices designed to activate the flow of prana.
This is also a heart and throat opening pose, as well as a pose that stimulates the root & sacral chakras. The physical benefits of cobra pose include strengthening the spine, soothing sciatica, opening the chest & lungs, and relieve stress. If you have had a back injury, suffer from headaches or are pregnant, you should avoid cobra pose or check with your doctor.
A water sign, the snake embodies intuition and introspection. One of my favorite popular yoga sequences, is Shiva Rea’s moon shine flow. A watery, fluid sequence that links breath with movement; each movement flowing into the next as one. In minute 2:44 of this video, you’ll see Shiva’s trademark prana flow expression of cobra.
If you prefer traditional cobra pose or are new to yoga, here are steps for getting into the pose from Yoga Journal:
Lie prone on the floor. Stretch your legs back, tops of the feet on the floor. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Hug the elbows back into your body.
Press the tops of the feet and thighs and the pubis firmly into the floor.
On an inhalation, begin to straighten the arms to lift the chest off the floor, going only to the height at which you can maintain a connection through your pubis to your legs. Press the tailbone toward the pubis and lift the pubis toward the navel. Narrow the hip points. Firm but don’t harden the buttocks.
Firm the shoulder blades against the back, puffing the side ribs forward. Lift through the top of the sternum but avoid pushing the front ribs forward, which only hardens the lower back. Distribute 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.
Activate your intuition, relieve stress and embrace your Kundalini with Bhujangasana.
– Your Charmed Yogi
(Photo: Browse Yoga)