Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 9 Challenge - Sphinx & Low Cobra

Today's Yoga Challenge is Sphinx and Low Cobra

These two poses are good to stretch out the muscles in the lower back. Sphinx opens the chest and strengthens the core body. Cobra aligns the spine and invigorates the kidneys and nervous system.

In the Sphinx pose, try to bring awareness to your belly by focusing on your lower abdomen (the part just above the pubic bone and below the navel) and begin to draw your belly away from the floor to create a dome that lifts toward your lower back. This abdominal lift supports you and distributes the curvature of your backbend more evenly, soothing your lower back and awakening your upper back.

The Low Cobra is a slightly deeper backbend than the Sphinx. Keeping your elbows drawn into your sides, pressing your hands firmly on the floor and actively press your shoulder blades into your upper back, lift your chest into the mild backbend. The muscles along your spine will begin to activate and support you. By engaging your spinal muscles this way, you'll begin to develop strength and suppleness in your back.

Here are some alternatives and options which you can do when doing the poses.

- For a gentle Sphinx, rest on the ribs, sliding the elbows away to reduce compression in lower back.
- Internally rotate your legs by rolling your outer thighs toward the floor helps maintain width in your sacrum (the downward-facing triangular bone at the base of your spine) and length in your lower back.
- Use bolsters under elbows, to help elevate the chest and deepen the posture.
- In Low Cobra, if you feel pressure in the lower back, slight your hands slightly forward.
- If you spread the legs apart, you can deepen the sensations in the lower back, while legs together will release the sacrum or make the sensations more evenly along the spine.

Watch the videos on how to do the poses at Yoga Bear website

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