Open the heart and stretch the belly with Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose. Back bends stimulate the Kidney Energy and invigorate the heart. Back bends can counteract the effects of depression. During the winter, many people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD, because of the decrease in light. Back bends, when practiced correctly, elevate our mood. This gentle back bend improves digestion and creates flexibility in the spine. Shiva Rea offers a wonderful review of this beginning back bend in her Yoga Journal Basics column, reminding us to extend through and use the strength in the legs and the back, instead of exerting ourselves to gain height and risk over-arching in the cervical spine.
Below are some of our favorite photographs of this pose. Please click on the photos to give credit to the photographers. For further exploration of Cobra Pose as well as other backbends, consider downloading Erich Schiffmann's video
Listen to the Pronunciation of Bhujangasana. Courtesy of the Online Sanskrit Pronunciation Guide [audio:http://www.ihanuman.com/media/audio/Sanskrit/Asanas/Bhujangasana.mp3]