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THE COBRA (BHUJANGASANA)

In Bhujangasana, the head and trunk arch gracefully up, like a cobra with its hood raised. The spine receives a powerful backward stretch, the surrounding musculature is strengthened and the abdominal organs are toned up and massaged. The pose is particularly effective for combating menstrual irregularities and pain and relieving constipation. Perform the asana in stages, as shown below, visualizing the smooth, supple movement of a snake as you slowly stretch your spine up and backward, vertebra by vertebra. Keep your shoulders down, your elbows tucked into your body, and your face relaxed in the pose. You may find the full Cobra position difficult to achieve at first, but in time your spine will become supple enough for head and feet to touch. 

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1. Lie down with your legs together and your hands palms down under your shoulders. Rest your forehead on the floor. 2. Inhaling, bring your head up, brushing first your nose, then your chin against the floor. Now lift up your hands and use your back muscles to raise your chest as high as possible. Hold for a few deep breaths then, exhaling, slowly returns to position 1, keeping your chin up until last.
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3. Inhaling, come up as before, but this time use your hands to push the trunk up. Continue up until you are bending from the middle of the spine. Hold for two or three deep breaths, then exhale and come slowly down. 4. Inhaling, raise the trunk as before, but this time continue up and back until you can feel your back bending all the way down from the neck to the base of the spine. Breathe normally. Hold the position for as long as you feel comfortable, then slowly come down and relax.

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