BHUJANGASNA OR COBRA POSE
Bhujangasana has been a popular yoga pose in recent times. The name has been derived from the Sanskrit words bhujanga which means ‘snake’ and asana means ‘posture or seat’.This is because of its resemblance to a cobra with its hood raised. Bhujangasana is said to be part of the sequence of yoga postures in Padma Sadhana and the eight pose of the 12 poses of Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation. This yoga pose requires the practitioner to perform the same, in the form of a cobra. It is highly rejuvenating exercise as it is performed with a backbend like that of a cobra. It is also an alternative to Udhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Dog Pose), which is considered as a close cousin of the pose.
Bhujangasana is a typical “heart-opening” exercise and thus it instills a sense of openness, excitement, and vulnerability while dealing with the world. It also fills the body with an immense amount of positive energy that detoxifies the body and also helps to correct postural imbalances. As the entire gamut of yoga is to envisage a sense of balance and equilibrium throughout the body which brings about a sense of oneness and self-awareness, Bhujangasana also works on similar lines of glorifying the path of liberation and infinite wisdom. The cobra pose is also considered as being the foundation of most Hatha Yoga. Despite this fact, it can prove to be a rigorous pose for beginners and takes a substantial amount of time to master. The complete edition of the pose is an advanced one, which requires a considerable amount of practice to master, and is generally modified to facilitate the beginners to perform the same, with ease and too much pressure on the body. In hindsight, these modifications are said to possess great value and can make the pose accessible to beginners.
Contradictions of the Pose
- This pose is not suitable for people suffering from severe back problems, especially relating to the spine, because it may cause some unnecessary contractions or pulls, which can have detrimental consequences.
- Spondylitis patients too should abstain from the Cobra Pose as this pose includes stretching of the neck and shoulders.
- Proper guidance and discretion must be taken before performing this position for people suffering from stomach disorders like ulcers. It is advisable to discontinue the pose if discomfort is seen or felt.
- Women who are menstruating and pregnant women should completely avoid the yoga pose as a lot of pressure is caused in the lower abdomen and can also cause injury if the position of the arms is not correct while in this pose.
- If someone is suffering from severe asthma or breathing issue, the Cobra Pose is a big ‘no’ for them and instead practice pranayama of several breathing techniques, before attempting the Bhujanganasana.
Steps to Perform Bhujangasana
Lie down flat on your stomach with the head facing the floor and straight legs with feet kept side by side.
It is important to ensure that your palms are on the floor under the shoulders with elbows in closer proximity to the body.
Relax your back and lower body.
Now, inhale slowing by raising your head and start lifting your chest. Keeping your chest open, use your back muscles for the lift and put less pressure on the hands.
Keep your pubic bone in contact with the floor, the navel may be lifted a little bit.
The elbows can be kept bent a little and once you reach a comfortable height, look diagonally
Try staying at the position for 5 to 6 breaths.
To return, exhale and slowly bend the arms, lower the naval, chest, shoulders, and forehead to the ground.
Come back to the initial position and relax!
Benefits of Bhujangasana
- The beauty benefits of yoga have made it so coveted and prevalent in recent times. The Cobra Pose is considered one of the best asanas to get a flat stomach and reduce those extra inches off your belly fat.
- Bhujangasna churns the entire blood circulation within the body, which leads to your body cells getting a sufficient amount of oxygen. Improved blood circulation also leads to the maintenance of hormonal balance.
- Today’s world to stress and anxiety have proven to be tormenting and daunting for most people. The regular practice of the Bhujangasana is very helpful for treating stress symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and weakness. Also, it is very effective in treating depression and somber.
- Cobra Pose is very useful to treat indigestion problems and improve the bowel movement. It is excellent for the stomach, which in turn, enhances the overall metabolism of the body.
- People suffering from congestion in the heart can give try this pose as it opens the chest and helps to clear the passages of the heart.
VRIKSHASANA or TREE POSE
The name of this Yoga posture comes from the Sanskrit word vriksa which means “tree” and asana meaning “pose”. Vrikshasana is the posture of standing in the form of a tree, as steadily as possible, in order to improve balance, focus, and mental clarity. Here the practitioner is required to stand on one leg with the other leg bent so the footrests on the side of the thigh. Also, the hands are extended overhead with the palms. The idea behind is asana is to feel as firm as a tree while balancing one leg to the other to invoke concentration and mindfulness. Saints and sages in the past used this asana as a meditation pose and it helps to balance the chakras of the spine. Vrikshasana also stimulates the Muladhara (root) chakra which builds confidence and makes the practitioner feeling rooted and stable, both in the body and on earth.
Performing this asana gives a true essence of a tree and thus named as tree pose. It is a very important aspect of any yoga asana to perform with proper breathing techniques. Vrikshasana remains no exception. Here you are required to inhale and raise both the arms above the head and form a Namaskar mudra. Suitable stretching can be taken and maintaining the pose while inhaling-exhaling.Make sure to exhale while bringing down the arms. The performance of the posture is highly dependent on the leg balance. So it is advisable to take support and necessary guidance to perform this pose, especially for elderly people. It is also a tool for austerity or Tapasya.
Contradictions of the Pose
- People suffering from high blood pressure or hypertension should not raise their arms but instead, keep their palms in Namaste mudra at the center of the chest.
- For those who are emaciated or elderly or have osteoporosis, or balancing issues should do the Vrikshasana for shorter span, whilst taking the support of the wall.
- Those who have fatigue or feel perpetually tired should abstain from this asana.
- Do not place the sole of the lifted foot directly on the side of the standing knee or above.
- If too much pressure is exerted on the next knee by the foot, it may lead to injury as the knee doesn’t bend parallel to the frontal plane. Make sure not to put too much pressure.
Steps to Perform Vrikshasana
- First of all, stand straight and place your feet together, whilst keeping your knees completely straight.
- Keep your arms at the particular sides.
- Without twisting your left knee, lift up your right foot and hold the lower leg(ankle) from your right hand.
- Wrap your right leg at the knee joint
- With the help of both the hands, put the right heel on the left thigh as high as could be comfortable in the given situation. Also, make sure the toes are indicating downwards
- Now try to balance yourself on the left leg alone. Be attentive!
- After that, join and Place your palms and fingers to the side of your right leg.
- Also, join the palms and fingers and put them at the center of your chest in the namaskar mudra or ‘petition to God’ posture.
- Now breathe in and lift your held hands gradually over your head.
- Keep looking straight and hold the position, maintaining a steady breath.
- Breathe out and bring down your hands to the chest and return to rest.
- Repeat the same thing with the other leg.
Benefits of Vrikshasana
- The Tree pose is very helpful for improving the balance of the body and also strengthens the ligaments and tendon of the feet to attain stability of legs.
- This asana has also proven to be very helpful for developing pelvic stability and strengthening of the abdominal muscles.
- Vrikshasana is a great endeavor to improve the neuromuscular coordination of the body with the mind. This, in turn, will help in learning physical adaptability by gaining mental stability.
- It also enhances the spiritual wisdom and intelligence, which benefits in improving observational capabilities of eyes, ears, and other senses.
- It reduces the condition of flat feet and also gives relief from sciatica.
- It is an excellent meditation technique, which can help fight depression.