Friday, 15 March 2013

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Kapalbhati in Vajrasana - Blowing in Fixed Firm Pose - For Beginners

The usual problem in this exercise is coordination. Again, its like patting your head while rubbing your stomach. Pulling the stomach in while blowing out will at first seem contrary to what is natural.

Pretend there is a candle about a foot in front of you. Put one hand on your abdomen just above your waist, then vigorously blow that candle out. Did you feel the midsection move inward? Contracting the stomach muscles is the only way to force a strong enough gust of air out of your lungs to extinguish a candle. That exhalation, with the accompanying inward movement of the abdomen, is all you are being asked to do.

But oh, the comical gyrations your stomach will go through as it tries to more in the right direction at the right time. So to help things along, start with the stomach completely relaxed and hanging out. Come on, this is no beauty contest. Let every muscle go. You may have to push it out to get it to sag if you've dedicates your life to holding it in.

Now look down at your midsection so you can see when you're getting the proper coordination. Blow out the candle and watch it contrast. Don´t blow out another candle till it has returned to its extended state. Adjust your rhythm to about one exhalation per second - or the time it takes to move your ''bellows'' in and then to let it relax

The only other catch to the Blowing Exercise is that those stomach muscles are the only part of you that is supposed to move - no shoulders, arms, or lower back jumping in sympathy with the abdomen. You'll get the hang of it quickly enough. And you're forcing every last drop of carbon dioxide out of your lungs, making room for fresh oxygen and improving elasticity. Your body isn´t used to such good treatment!


This last breathing exercise strengthens all the abdominal organs and increases the circulation. It also makes the abdominal wall strong and trims the waistline.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Ardha-Matsyendrasana - Spine-Twisting Pose - For Beginners

First you may have difficulty wrestling the curious appendages you think of as legs into the position. Once into the position, the knee on the floor lifts slowly and steadily, the foot thrown  over that knee is carried along, and there you are - the Amazing Tumbling-Over-Backward Toy

The key is: the hips must stay flat on the floor to do this position properly. It's the only way to keep your weight forward. But you have, in all probability, already allowed the foot curled around by the side of the right buttock to creep under that buttock, thus tilting you slightly backward. So from the beginning, put that foot farther out to the side than you think you should, leaving a gap between the heel and the side of the right buttock of about three inches. Then press the buttock to the floor till it touches the heel, as opposed to bringing the heel up to meet the hip.

If you still have trouble, then simply rock forward and to the side, repeatedly forcing the right buttock closer to the left heel on each rock, until you stretch the necessary muscles and can touch comfortably.The second essential part of maintaining the proper weight distribution is to keep the knee on the floor. It must not raise. If you have both buttocks flat, it will be much easier to keep the knee down.

If you can't  get your left hand between the left knee and right ankle and still stay upright, grasp the left leg at any point where you are able - lower knee, shin - even the towel you are sitting on if necessary. You may also use the right hand to prop yourself up, lifting it to reach around toward the left thigh only when you have sufficient balance.

You'll feel even more like a backward-tumbling toy at this point, but if you're done your groundwork properly you can fight the tendency. And in a surprisingly short time your muscles will strengthen and balance won't be a problem. You can then devote yourself to twisting with full gusto. Normal breathing helps the twisting no end. On each exhalation, twist around just a fraction more. Exhale loudly, that helps, too. For opposition in the twists, use that straight left arm to press your knee farther father backward as you twist more and more to the right. And if you can reach all the way around to grasp the opposite thigh, really take hold of it and use it to pull yourself around.


The Spine Twisting Pose is the only exercise that twists the spine from top to bottom at the same time. As a result, it increases circulation and nutrition to spinal nerves, veins, and tissues, and improves spinal elasticity and flexibility and the flexibility of the hip joints.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Janushirasana and Paschimotthanasana - Head to Knee Pose and Stretching Pose - For beginners

Some people's legs don't seem to bend this way at first. Just do your best. Soon you'll discover what ''inflexibility'' really means.

The first fact that will strike most of you is that either your arms are too short or your legs are too long. Whichever it is, wiggling or no wiggling, you cannot reach your toes. You probably think we are insane thinking that you could reach your toes without bending your legs. The fact that Ruth seems to be able to do it makes no difference whatsoever to you. So, as any level-headed person would do, you bend the knee of your extended right leg upward until you can grasp the toes.

Remember Standing Head to Knee Pose? Well, as with that pose, kicking forward through the heel while pulling the toes back toward you, causing the leg to bow downward, is exactly what you are going to do here. The nice thing about the sitting version of the Standing Head to Knee pose is that you don't have to balance on one leg!

Take hold of those toes and pull back on them with all your strength until the heel lifts. Your sciatic nerve will no doubt complain loudly, but you'll get the feel of the ultimate pose. As a bonus, you'll notice that your leg straightens out more than you thought it could. Don't forget to use your forehead to push the knee down a little by little, make sure you're bending your elbows toward the floor, and have faith. Pretty soon you'll be doing the pose with your leg straight.

The inequality of your sides will be very apparent here. The left will either be much more difficult or much easier.

Now you see how important the sit-ups are. A sit-up done correctly is half the battle won. Which ought to take the boogeyman out of the pose. You'll notice, of course, that this is really a wee bit harder than a normal sit-up. In the sit-up you dart down for the touch and hold it for few seconds, but in the Stretching Pose you must stay there for twenty seconds.

As a beginner, it will probably be impossible for you to touch your elbows to the floor and lay your body out along your straight legs - much less touch your forehead to your toes. Let's be realistic: bending the legs will help some. Then pull hard on the toes while releasing them back toward you and pushing toward the mirror through the heels. Put your forehead to your bent knees and try to straighten then downward. Make it pull behind the knees.You must stretch those sciatic nerves!

There are many ways to attach both parts of this pose, many tricks to use to limber yourself and hasten flexibility. Play around with it. Don't be afraid, you won't hurt yourself. At any spare moment, get yourself warmed up, then start making your rocking dives toe-ward. Try lifting your heels, try reaching with your forehead. And remember to wiggle your hips and get your weight forward. Go for it, and you will make astounding strides.


The Head to Knee Pose helps to balance the blood sugar levels. It improves the flexibility of the sciatic nerves, ankles, knees, and hip joints; improves digestion; enhances the proper functioning of the kidneys; and expands the solar plexus. The Stretching Pose relieves chronic diarrhea by improving the circulation of the bowels. It also increases circulation to the liver and spleen and improves digestion.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Sasangasana - Rabbit Pose - For Beginners

It is absolutely essential, for reasons that will be explained, that your grip is secure in this pose. To help you hold the heels securely ( they can be very slippery) fold the edges of your towel over your heels and grasp the heels and the towel together.

This is a problem for most , but if you bend forward as you grip the heels, rather than sittings straight-spined like Herb, you´ll find you are already halfway there. You have only to tuck that chin down into your chest and curl inward with a passion, as through reaching with the top of your head for the interior of a nautilus shell

Once you begin to lift the hips and pull hard with the arms, don´t let your hands slip off your heels. If you feel your hands slipping, immediately lower your hips and decrease the pull.

The secret to the whole pose is in the arms. You must pull with all your strength on the heels of both to do the posture fully and to keep your weight where it belongs. But should you lose your grip, you could do an unexpected somersault and get yourself a stiff neck. So hung on.

If you find you must walk the knees forward to meet your forehead, it shows that your back is not yet supple enough to stretch all the way. If you still cannot conquer the space between forehead and knees, time, patience , and persistence! If you feel dizzy the first day in this head-down position, you can hold it for ten seconds, then gradually work up to twenty. But the choked feeling in your throat is no reason to stop. In fact, the more choked the better.

The Rabbit is neither exhausting nor painful and doesn't require great body strength or agility. You therefore don't have many excuses to avoid buckling right down and performing it properly. The object of the pose is to stretch the spine out slowly - as through the vertebrae were beads strung on elastic - nourishing everything on the band and aligning it, and then to release the tension slowly and let it all come together again. When stretched in a full Rabbit, it is not unusual for a spine to measure fourteen inches longer than usual.  

A camel and a Rabbit a day generally keep the chiropractor away.


The Rabbit produces the opposite effect of the Camel, giving maximum longitudinal extension of the spine. As a result, it stretches the spine to permit the nervous system to receive proper nutrition. It also maintains the mobility and elasticity of the spin and back muscles. The Rabbit improves digestion and helps to cure colds, sinus problems, and chronic tonsilitis. And it has a wonderful effect on thyroid and parathyroid glands. The Pose improves the flexibility of the scapula and the trapezius and helps children reach their full growth potential.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Ustrasana - Camel Pose - For Beginners

If it´s more comfortable for your knees to be a little farther apart, that´s okey. But keep your feet only six inches apart.

Bending backwards is sometimes tough for beginners. But those hands are on the backs of the hips for a reason - for support. So use them. And drop the head back completely.

The first day you will probably not be able to go any farther than gripping both heels. But it' s a good beginning done correctly, so be patient with yourself
One Good thing about triangle of pig iron you will resemble is that you can' t get any worse.
And so.. concentrate on the area from the top of your thighs to your waistline. Push it up and forward with everything you got! Exhale and push harder. That mid-section will eventually begin to seem like an accordion, stretching with each exhalation.
When you have pushed forward as far as you can go that day, then change your focus of attention to the small of the back and try to release those tensed muscles. I say "try" because everyone is so convinced that he or she is going to break, that all the muscles fight the relaxation which must happen in that spot to enable the upper body to arch backward fully.
The day you finally gather your nerve and let the back release, the elation of feeling your body gracefully over will more than compensate for any discomfort.
Once you begin to get a good forward push, take care not to "cheat" by letting your hands creep upward off the heels. Keep your fingers well down into the insteps, grasping the heels fully and firmly.

The Camel stretches the abdominal organs to the maximum and cures constipation. It also stretches the throat, thyroid gland and parathyroids. Like the Bow Pose, it opens a narrow rib cage to give more space to the lungs. And because it produces maximum compression of the spine, it improves the flexibility of the neck and spine and relieves backache. It also firms and slims the abdomen and the waistline.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Ardha-Kurmasana - Half Tortoise Pose - For Beginners

Those of you who had difficulty doing this in the Fixed Firm will have the same problem with the Half Tortoise - a gap between buttocks and heels. As suggested before, take every opportunity that presents itself to get down on your knees and bounce gently to stretch out your atrophied muscles, joints, and tendons. For the moment, however, sit down as far as you can and concentrate on keeping a downward pressure on your buttocks throughout the posture.

Half the benefit of this stretch comes from keeping your arms locked and touching ears as you bend forward  in the next step. So, make sure you don´t drop your steeple.

The Half Tortoise feels like pure Heaven after the Purgatory of the Fixed Firm. Not that the Half Tortoise is simple, which fact you will grasp the moment you find that no way will your buttocks stay touching your feels as you bend forward. In all likelihood, the gap will be just as large once you get your forehead on the floor. Even Jeff still has an inch to go.

Next, you'll discover that you probably don´t have enough spine strength to go all the way down with a perfectly straight spine. Resurrecting those crocodiles you met in the Balancing Stick in Chapter will help; they´re just where your face and hands will touch the towel. So it behooves you to go down slo-o-o-o-wly and to keep your face and hands off the towel till they absolutely must touch.

Not only will this slow stretch rapidly strengthen your back muscles and keep your spine as straight as possible at your particular point of development, but it will also keep your buttocks in contact with your heels longer. You'll learn that exact point to gauge your progress with each passing day.

To get the best stretch with your steeple, as the sides of your hands touch the towel, slide them forward. When they won´t slide any more, then walk them forward with side-to-side, rocking-crawling movements, until your arms and shoulders are stretched to what seems the breaking point. Then lower your forehead to the towel - and relax. Because relaxation is the aim of the posture,  it works magic on tense neck and shoulders.

It is east to have buttock-to-heel contact by buckling in the middle as you lift up. It is not easy to keep that contact when you come up like one solid chunk of steel from fingertips to tailbone - but that is the correct method. And the only way you are going to do it is as slowly as a pregnant snail.You must generate a tremendous amount of lift in your hands and arms and back muscles and keep that lift going all the way or the arms will sad and you will buckle. When done properly your whole spine, from top to bottom, will be working and strengthening. You´ll feel it every step of the way, and it will be very satisfying.


The Half Tortoise provides maximum relaxation. It cures indigestion and stretches the lower part of the lungs, increasing blood circulation to the brain. It firms the abdomen and thighs. And it increases the flexibility of hip joints, scapula, deltoids, triceps, and latissimus dorsi muscles.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Supta-Vajrasana - Fixed Firm Pose

Many people at first are unable even to sit on their heels. And then to get the buttocks to the floor between the heels can take weeks. But when finally they do, they feel as though they have conquered Everest. And in a way they have. For once people prove to themselves they can do something, which only the day before seemed impossible - there is no stopping them.

To get yourself limbered up and hasten your progress (and ease the inevitable cramps in your knees and feet), you might practice this pose while watching television in the evening. Just get down on the floor Japanese-style, spread your feet apart, and bounce gently but persistently to stretch the muscles and tendons in your knees and feet and accustom them to their doubled-back position.

Some people - especially men - have great difficulty going anywhere in this posture with the knees together. If you find that this is the case with you, sit with the knees a little apart at first, and then force them back together after you have become proficient.

As for putting your hands on your feet, if you cannot even get your buttocks down to your heels as yet, you won´t be able to reach the toes. But try. It will increase the stretch.

Bending down brings out the first wail of protest from your feet. The farther back you go, the louder your little pigs will squeal and the ankles, calves, knees, and thighs will take up the chorus. You have the whole-hearted sympathy of all who have gone before you, and profanities are allowed. Quitting, however, is illegal, immoral, and therefore our of the question.

But you can be confident of one important thing: the discomfort is occasioned by the newness of the position, not because you are injuring yourself. Only if you jerk into or out of the position too quickly is there the possibility of  pulling something. Do everything slowly. That advice can´t be repeated too often.

You may, as a beginner, put your hands flat on the floor behind you, rather than on the toes. This will allow you to get down onto the elbows with more security and to take some of the weight off your poor legs and feet and onto your arms and hands instead.

There are two stages in this posture where almost everything gets stuck. The first is at the point of getting both elbows lowered onto the floor. For a few days, you don´t go ant farther because you are legitimately stretching our all the muscles from chest through abdomen, hips, thighs, calves, and feet. But after that, freezing in this position is just plain fear.

Finally you summon your courage and actually drop your head back to the floor. Yet, there you freeze again, still bearing most of your weight on the elbows, not quite sure what to do next and afraid to try anyway.

The solution to both problems is to relax. Realize that by fighting the act of touching your shoulders to the floor, you are making it triply difficult for yourself! Let go completely. Let those elbows slide out from under you and relax the shoulders and upper back onto the towel. Your legs and feet will complain, but bear it as long as possible and come up slowly.

Now that you are in the final position, begin trying to keep your knees absolutely together and flat on the floor. Then turn your attention to feeling as though your buttocks have turned to lead and are dropping right through the floor. Once you get the knack of that relaxation, you COULD FALL ASLEEP in the Fixed Firm, it´s that comfortable.

But Yoga doesn´t ask for heroes or fools. Do as much as you can each day and then hold it there for the count.

You must come up slowly and in exact reversal of the way you went in!

Despite the discomfort of this pose, it´s wonderful therapy to moan and groan and complain. The noises some people make should be recorded for posterity. And the axiom about misery loving company must first have been said about a class of Yoga students doing Fixed Firm - though everyone always seems to end up laughing instead of crying.


Fixed Firm Pose helps cure sciatica, gout, and rheumatism in the legs. It slims thighs, firms calf muscles, and strengthens the abdomen. It also strengthens and improves flexibility of lower spine, knees, and ankle joints.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Dhanurasana - Bow Pose - For Beginners

Once into this position you sometimes have the uncomfortable feeling that someone is going to come along, stuff an apple into your mouth, and start turning you on a spin. Indeed, the first few days some people can do nothing more for twenty seconds than lie there, clinging to their feet and looking helpless. (Which is at least better than the occasional person who can´t even reach the feet).

But not discouraged. You have hordes of company. This is the position that presents the most problems in the most people. It is where everyone´s inflexibility really shows, and where we seem to have the most difficult getting the messages from the brain to the muscles.

It´s a fairly easy to lift the torso - indeed, in this trussed position the torso could hardly be anything but raised. It´s those legs that sometimes refuse to budge off the floor, no matter how you kick backward or try to lift them.

To overcome that problem, first make sure that you have a good firm grip on your feet, then center your attention on the small of the back and your buttocks and forget that you are supposed to lift the torso and legs. Instead, imagine that you are going to push your abdomen, buttocks, and lower back right down trough the floor. To do this you must make the muscles tight like rocks. Now push downward. More. Simultaneously press up and back against your hands with the tops of your feet just as hard as you can. Up. Push. Hard!

Your torso, by now, will be well lifted and you should be feeling the first stirrings of lift in your thighs and will recognize the muscles you need to lift them - not in the legs but in the buttocks, lower back and abdomen.

As an added tip, once you do get the legs up off the towel, become aware of how stiffly you are holding your shoulders. Let the arms putt the shoulder blades backward. You might even have to force the shoulders back the first few times to get the fell of it. But releasing the shoulders - and rolling your body weight forward on the abdomen - will allow everything to get higher, farther, and increase the stretch and benefit.

The Bow Pose combines the difficulties of the Cobra, Locust, Full Locust, Standing Bow Pulling and Balancing Stick. But you are also combining all those wonderful benefits, which should make your rest sweeter.

If you can´t go the full 20 counts the first few days, hold it for ten counts to begin and add 2 counts each day. A raw beginner´s lack of endurance, bad cramping, high blood pressure and real complaints as from a trick knee are, however, the only permissible excuses for quitting short of 20 counts. Besides the Bow Pose is pretty once you get it. Doesn´t that make you feel better?


The Bow improves the functioning of the large and small intestines, the liver, kidneys and spleen. In helps straighten rounded spines, relieves backaches, and improves pigeon chest by opening the rib cage, permitting maximum expansion of lungs and increased oxygen intake. The Bow also revitalizes all spinal nerves by increasing circulation to the spine. It improves digestion and strengthens abdominal muscles, upper arms, thighs and hips.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Poorna-Salabhasana - Full Locust Pose - For Beginners

Some students are tempted to let their knees and their feet part company when straining during the second step of this pose. But if you keep all your muscles tight and toes sharply pointed from the start, this will be less of a possibility.

Get those arms up and back, hands always on a level with the shoulders. This means for each inch you lift your torso, the hands must lift he same distance.

The Full Locust is a subtle sneak. Remember we mentioned doing Cobra by raising the torso without supporting yourself with hands and arms? Unmask a Full Locust and you will find a snake in the grass.

And what´s this business about raising your legs off the floor till you´re balanced on your belly button? Didn´t we just do that in the Locust, but with hands and arms to help keep us up and balance us? Now we do the same thing without benefit of arm strength, front or back.

There are no shortcuts or easier ways to develop this posture. Mastery takes sweat, strain, and determination. If sacrifices must be made (and as a beginner, the sacrifices are seemingly endless), sacrifice height in the legs in favor of getting the torso and arms arched up, and swept back just  as high as possible. The ultimate will see legs and torso raised equally, but in the beginning stages accept the fact that the legs will lag behind. Just try honestly to get the legs off the floor a speck higher each day.

Other than that - have a GOOD FLIGHT :)

To show you how subtly difficult the Full Locust is, it is the one position where we seldom play games with the 10 seconds. If you are doing honestly, giving it all you´ve got, then seconds is all you can take. But oh! the wonderful things it does to your body.


The Full Locust has the same therapeutic value as the Cobra Pose and the same upper body benefits as the Standing Bow Pulling. It also firms abdominal muscles, upper arms, hips, and thighs.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Salabhasana - Locust pose - For Beginners

The undulations, heavings, rollings, and gruntings as you try to maneuver your arms into this new and unusual position are marvelous to see and hear. Try this technique: From your position of relaxation on your stomach, push your right toe into the floor to lift right hip and roll your body slightly to the left. Then slide the right arm directly under you with the palm flat on the floor. Lower your right hip onto the hand and arm. Then push with the left toe, roll your body onto the right arm, lift the left hip, and slide the left arm under you, palm down. Get the little fingers touching and elbows as close to each other as possible. Then lower your left hip onto the left arm.

You will thus have both arms nicely pinned, and you will suddenly feel like a trussed goose. Your head will be bobbing around trying to look casual, and your elbows will most likely begin to protest the position in which they find themselves. Put your chin solidly on the floor and wait for what follows.

Yoga Catch 23: the raising leg of a beginner is always followed by an attached hip. Why? Because raising the hip makes it easy to lift the leg. However, Yoga isn´t interested in what is easy. So keep both hipbones touching your forearms.

As with the Standing Bow Pulling and Balancing stick, this is a straight up-and-down, forward-and-back pose, no ballet turnouts. The bottom of the raised foot and the back of the leg and knee move straight up toward the ceiling, while the leg remaining on the floor stays totally relaxed.

At the same time, feel as though someone has hooked your big toe to wild horses and they are pulling it through the back wall. In the other words, stretch, not height, is the important thing.You may feel cramps at first. Flex and wiggle the foot to relieve them.

If you aim or a slightly pigeon-toed feeling you will produce the perfect "straight-up-and-down." A pigeon-toed feeling will also allow you to keep both hips on the arms more comfortably.

The third part of Locust is usually voted " Pet Hate Number One". Eventually it will be as easy as falling off a log. Until then, if you have been fussing about your aching elbows, lifting both legs and your hips off the floor will give you something new to complain about.

It is, of course, entirely possible that you won't be able to lift the legs off the floor at all. It is possible you won't even be able to figure out how to lift them. Don't give up hope. It's a simply a matter of patience. Almost like a person recovering the use of limbs after paralysis or illness, you must keep at it until the brain muscle linkage is reestablished and you can send messages to the correct muscles at will. The ideal way for those legs to go up is for the muscles of the lower back and abdomen to pick them up. So talk to tour belly as well as to your spine and lower back.

Try pressing the floor hard with palms and arms, use the grimace of your face, mighty grunts - anything to lift your legs. Try lifting on exhalation instead of inhalation. Getting them totally off the towel by hook or by crook and holding them there for ten honest counts is the name of the game

Despite the temptation, don't drop your legs to the floor. Also, collapsing out of this one could put a dent in the floor.

There is some GOOD NEWS!! First off your elbows won´t hurt after about a week, and neither will your tennis elbow, if you happen to have had on. Second, your legs are always much higher in actuality than they feel to you. After a few weeks of practice, sneak a peek sideways into the mirror. You will be pleasantly surprised - and spurred on to even greater accomplishments.


The Locust Pose has the same benefits as the Cobra, but it is even more potent in the cure of any back or spinal problem, such as gout, slipped disc, and sciatica. It cures tennis elbow and it also excellent for firming buttocks and hips!

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Bhujangasana - Cobra Pose - For beginners

As soon as you tighten your muscles, you may be attached by cramps in legs and feet, the cramps continuing throughout the floor poses. If it should happen to you, grin and bear it. Flex and wiggle the affected parts, then renew your efforts. The cramps subside as the days go by.

You probably won't be able to find a spinal muscle in that disused maze back there, much less mobilize one. As a hint, the muscles you use to arch backward when you have a backache are the very ones that lift the torso in the Cobra.

Now, just for the fun of it, try lifting the torso without putting any weight at all on your hands. You might even raise the palms slightly to prevent cheating. This will enable you to feel the muscles of the lower back and understand not only how weak or strong they are but recognize the "contact" that must be made to eventually go all the way up with spine strenght alone.

Whether you can lift five inches or no inches without weight on the hands, you do have your hands and arms to fall back upon. As a beginner you will make good use of them!

The essential point is to push that belly button through the floor with everything you've got, while arching spine, neck, head backward and releasing the small of the back. And glory in the stretch. Feel what it is doing for your waistline. Abandon worries about low-back pain and double chins. Your friend the Cobra has come to save you!

Do not collapse back onto the towel. Use your spine strength and arms to lower yourself smoothly,

This is not a hard pose requiring great strength or unusual contortions. You're not going to hurt yourself, you're not going to strain anything, there is nothing to fear. What the Cobra takes is will power - a commodity that is usually in shorter supply than strength. Barring medical problems, slow progress in the Cobra means just one thing - L-A-Z-Y!


The Cobra is one of the best ways to maintain the body in perfect condition. It increases spinal strength and flexibility helps prevent lower backache, and helps cure lumbago, rheumatism, and arthritis of the spine. It also relieves menstrual problems, cures loss of appetite, helps correct bad posture, and improves the functioning of the liver and spleen. The Cobra strengthens the deltoids, trapezius, and triceps.

Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.