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1. Lie on your belly, with the chin on the floor, palms flat on the floor under the shoulders and legs together.
2. Pull up the knee caps, squeeze the thighs and buttocks, engage mula bandha, and press the pubic bone down into the floor.
3. Without using the arms, inhale and lift the head and chest off of the floor, keeping the neck in line with the spine.
4. With the elbows close to your sides, press down into the palms and use the arms to lift you up even higher. Drop the shoulders down and back and press the chest forward. Keep the legs, buttocks, and mula bandha strong, and keep the pubic bone pressing down into the floor.
5. Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.
6. To release: exhale and slowly lower the chest and head to the floor. Turn the head to one side and rest, rock the hips from side to side to release any tension in the low back.
Benefits: Cobra opens the chest and strengthens the core body. Cobra aligns the spine and invigorates the kidneys and nervous system.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the back, arms or shoulders, pregnancy or recent abdominal surgery.
Modifications: To reduce strain in the low back: A) Increase the bend in the elbows, or B) Walk the hands further forward.
Variations: Use Sphinx pose as an easier variation to Cobra.