Monday, March 30, 2009

Cobra pose meditation

Named for its resemblance to the graceful serpent, this asana provides a great backward stretch for your spine — and an antidote to any tendency to slouch forward. Instead of leading with (and possibly overarching) the lower back, be sure to initiate the stretch in your upper back and gradually extend it down your spine To get the benefits of this stretch, do it this way:
  1. Lie face down with your forehead on the floor.
  2. Place your hands under your shoulders with your fingertips facing forward and the outside edge of your hands even with the edge of your shoulders.
  3. Draw your elbows in so that your arms touch the sides of your torso.
  4. Keep your feet together and press your legs and thighs into the floor.
  5. Raise your chest slowly away from the floor, lifting and extending from your upper back, with your head and neck in alignment with your spine. At first, you may find that your chest doesn’t rise very far, but don’t force yourself in any way. Your back will gradually become more flexible.
  6. Keeping your shoulders relaxed, gently press your chest upward and forward and open your abdomen while pressing your pubic bone into the floor.
  7. Breathe deeply and smoothly, holding the pose for five to ten full breaths.
  8. As you exhale, slowly unfold the pose, vertebra by vertebra, until you’re once again lying face down with your forehead on the floor.
  9. Turn your head to one side and relax completely.

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