Pose of the Day. Bhujangasana.
We depend on habits. The strength of this relationship affects our lives from our earliest years. The good habits improve our life quality. The bad ones pull us back to the previous step.
In yoga practice, the force of habit sometimes plays a vital role. Tapas, or “passionate practice” is one of the principles of Niyama. In fact, the good habit is to repeat and continue practising.
Considering the habit influence on asanas performances, you can find a harmonious pattern between the visible and the real progress of the student. The repeating the same asana at the monotonous pattern without making any adjustments is like a dead shell of a living. It changes body and mind, but it is not relevant to the present moment practitioner’s life. But, if it is done at a certain stage, the force of body habit consolidates and reveals opportunities for future progress.
Today, I will talk about the pose of Bhujangasana, or “Cobra Pose”. Though it is one of the “usual runs”, sometimes it is difficult to make the correct adjustment.
At first glance, this pose is quite simple. But, once you practice it, you will face many difficult elements to build the correct construction.
In this article, I will pay much attention to the technical side of Bhujangasana. More authoritative authors already wrote a lot of about it. I will talk about its specific element, which takes place in my students’ and my personal practices. It generates a lot of questions and difficulties.
Let’s talk about the shoulder girdle and its interaction with the rest of the body in this pose.
1. At first, we should consider the shoulder girdle and its mobility in the different poses. This can prepare the practitioner to more soft and correct alignment of his own Bhujangasana. As an example let’s look at twisting variation in Marichiasana, “the Posture of the Sage.”
This pose is a quite difficult but many yogis practise it successfully. In this pose, we do not focus on the complicated feet position and pay attention to the shoulder girdle. It is very important to do a deep rotation of the shoulder outwards. And it comes in both shoulder joints.
If it is done correct, then connecting hands behind the back will be much easier and there will be less hassle in retention. Actually, many of you can do it quite easily in because of the proportions of the upper limbs relative to body length or dominant connective tissue.
Pay attention to the above-described move of the left shoulder joint, comparing the two pictures below.
You may ask what is the connection between this pose and Bhujangasana and how can it help you to make it? The good rotation of the shoulder joints provides you with the right resistance degree. I talk about the moment of pushing the body off the floor and its fixation at the desired height in the pose of a Cobra. No overloading for arms’ muscles and thoracic.
2. The next moment is the active body pushing upwards with the correct alignment, which is done in Bhujangasana.
From books and teachers, we know that in a basic variation of Bhujangasana the body is raised upwards. The elbows are against the body. There are several variations with different hands’ positions. But we take the basic one.
Pay attention to your feelings while you are pushing upwards. You must not stretch the chest upwards with the largest effort with strained hands’ muscles. But, the hands should lift us to the desired height. Do it without overwork. With no stress or strain to pull the upper thoracic up to stretch, thus creating an elongated spine and the curve in the lumbar. This is the essence of this pose.
3. Let’s add to this pose little moves for relaxation and the “liberation” of the cervical spine. Built in the retained pose in Bhujangasana continue to pull up your head. Take smooth, with a short semi-circular locking head movements in each direction.
Mind pulled down shoulders and continue to stretch the spine, pushing your palms from the floor. Repeat it for 2-3 times in each direction.
At the end of this local work within Bhujangasana line up the pose again. Listen to all sensations of your body and nurture the new habit: to meet your new experiences with a smile!