Shashank Bhujangasana (Striking Cobra Pose)

Shashank Bhujangasana (Striking Cobra Pose) This is an excellent asana combining both shashankasana and bhujangasana to give a smooth and pleasant movement. In this way, it combines the benefits of a backward bending asana (bhujangasana) with a forward bending asana (shashankasana)

This does not mean that shashank bhujangasana can replace the other two asanas, for specific benefits are gained from their final static position; shashank bhujangasana is more useful for limbering up the spine by its dynamic action than anything else.

Technique Assume the final position of shashankasana with the arms outstretched in front of the shoulders1. The hands should remain in the same position throughout the whole practice. Now inhale slowly and deeply while lifting the buttocks off the heels and pushing the body forwards. Slide your nose and chest so that they just brush the surface of the floor as your body moves forwards. Gradually transfer the body weight onto the palms as you move further forwards. Try to arch your back downwards throughout this movement.

At the end of the movement straighten the arms so that the head, chest, and shoulders are raised off the ground. Unlike bhujangasana you may find that the navel is not in contact with the ground - this doesn't matter for it depends very much on the starting position of your hands. Allow the back to relax and sag downwards. Stay in this position for a few seconds. Raise the buttocks and push them back while breathing out. Don't try to reverse the previous movement, but keep the arms straight. At the end of the movement, the buttocks should sit on the heels and once again you will have assumed the starting position. Relax the whole body for a short time, taking a few breaths. Breathing, awareness and duration Inhale on the forward movement. Exhale on the backward movement.

Ensure that the breathing is synchronized with physical movement. One should be aware of the coordination of movement and breath. Practice up to a maximum of ten times. Sequence This asana should be practiced directly after shashankasana. Benefits This asana gives similar benefits to bhujangasana and shashankasana1. However, the other asanas give their benefits by maintaining the final pose; Shashank bhujangasana acts mainly by alternately flexing the spine. It is particularly useful for toning the female reproductive organs. It is an excellent asana for post-pregnant women to strengthen and tighten the abdominal and pelvic region. It is especially useful for relieving menstrual disorders. It massages and tones the abdominal and pelvic organs and is found to be helpful in promoting good elimination. The entire back is loosened up, the nerves are stimulated and the back muscles are made pliable. It has been found to be useful in eliminating backache and neckache.