Yoga for Runners: Position 15 - Bhujingasana

If you've ever been to a gym class and done the cool down stretching afterwards you may already be familiar with the Bhujingasana, which is Sanskrit for Cobra pose.
 
As with all the Bikram poses it has multiple benefits, including relieving back pain, combating slipped or herniated discs, lessening the effects of arthritis in the back region, improving digestion, improving appetite (not that the RW team need help with that...), raising low blood pressure and improving liver and spleen function. Here's how to do it.

Bhujingasana: Step by Step

1. Lie face down, feet together, with the tops of your toes resting on the floor.
 
2. Place your hands palms down at shoulder height so your elbows are sticking up in the air.
 
3. Keeping every other part of your body in contact with the floor from your pelvis downwards, push off with your hands so that your head and chest are raised up.
 
4. Look up with your head so that the top half of your body is fully stretched.
 
5. Hold the pose for 30 seconds then release and lie back down, relaxing for 20 seconds. Then repeat.
 
6. At first you may only be able to raise yourself a little way before your mid-section starts to come off the floor. Stop there, even if your arms are still bent. In time you'll be able to stretch further and further until you can push with your arms enough so that they are fully locked at the elbow.

Bhujingasana: The Benefits

Olga Allon, director of Hot Bikram Yoga in London says: "The main running-specific benefit of this pose is the strengthening and lengthening of the lumbar spine. When you run the base of your back takes quite a pounding with the impact from landing. This pose lengthens and decompresses the area after strenuous exercise as well as strengthening the surrounding muscles so that you can hold better running form for longer before you start to fatigue."

Bikram specialist Olga Allon teaches at London's Hot Bikram Yoga.

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Yoga for Runners: Position 14 - Pavanamuktasana


yoga, stretching, Kerry McCarthy, yoga for runners, cross-training
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