Do the Cobra Pose to Overcome Constipation and Gastric Problems
The Bhujangasana, which literally means the Cobra pose, can help you to reduce gastric problems and constipation. It also helps in exercising your hip and neck muscles and also your spine to reduce back and hip related ailments like slipped disc and sciatica. There are two versions of this asana – basic and advanced.
How to Do the Bhujangasana
In both versions, you start doing this asana by lying face down on a carpet. In the basic version, also called the Ardha Bhujangasana (Half Cobra Pose), you begin with folding your arms at your elbows and placing your arms alongside your chest with your palms on the floor and pointing forward towards your face. Place your feet together with your soles facing upwards and with your big toes touching each other. Relax in this position for a moment and inhale.
Lift Your Back Gracefully
After being comfortable in this position, stiffen the muscles of your buttocks, back and legs and push your torso upwards using your elbows and palms to lift yourself very slowly with your hip as the pivot. In this movement be careful not to lift yourself up with a jerk, as it could sprain your back. Your upward movement should be as graceful as that of a cobra when it slithers. Your movement should be slow enough for you to feel the upward movement of every vertebra.
Stretch your neck forward and point your head upwards when you lift your back. Move your neck without curving the back of your neck. You have to literally stick out your neck. While doing this, support your upward movement by keeping your elbows and palms on the floor.
How to Exit this Posture
Pause at this stage as long as you feel comfortable. Relax the muscles of your arm and release the upward pressure being given by your elbows and palms and gradually start lowering your back till your abdomen again touches the floor.
You have now completed the basic and relatively easier version of this exercise. Repeat this cycle of movements for as long you wish to.
Advanced Version of the Bhujangasana
The advanced version of the Bhujangasana is slightly more strenuous. It is also called the Raja Bhujangasana (or the royal cobra pose). Here you repeat all the movements of the basic version; the only difference is that you also lift your elbows off the floor when lifting your back. This gives your back a deeper concave arch.
In the advanced version your abdomen is subjected to a greater stretch than in the first version. The advanced version also puts more pressure on your back. Before you graduate to do the advanced version, get comfortable with doing the basic version.
Benefits of the Bhujangasana
In this exercise you alternately stretch and relax your stomach. This helps you in overcoming constipation and gastric problems. As your liver and pancreas too are stretched, it stimulates the liver to produce bile and the pancreas to secrete insulin. Thus you have better digestion and lowering of your blood sugar level. In addition the movement and stretching of your back and bending at your hip also exercises your back and hip. While the sticking out of your neck, tones your neck muscles.
This exercise also makes you more energetic as your adrenal glands placed above your kidneys are also stretched during the stretching and relaxation of the abdomen. This movement stimulates the adrenal glands, increasing the secretion of adrenaline with the consequent increase in your energy and stamina.
The best time to do this exercise is early morning on an empty stomach. But do consult your doctor before you start doing the Bhujangasana and also learn to do this posture under the guidance of a qualified yoga therapist.
To derive comprehensive benefits from the different yoga exercises do the Bhujangasana along with other yoga exercises like the Akarna Dhanurasana along with the Normal Naukasana and the Reverse Naukasanato make your back supple and to stimulate insulin secretion, and the Handstand for building strong arms.