Begin lying face down with the hands under the shoulders, and the elbows bent down to the sides of the body. Legs can be together or hip-width apart.
Engage the bandhas to ground the pelvis and support the low back.
As you inhale, lengthen the spine and lift the chest and head away from the floor from the strength of the back, without putting any weight in the arms. Keep the shoulders relaxed down away from the ears, and the upper back and chest wide.
Continue lifting the chest forward and up from the strength of the back muscles, while pressing the hands into the earth to support the lift. Keep the elbows hugging the sides of the body.
Lift as high as feels comfortable for your spine, keeping the pubic bone connected to the earth. Maintain the width across the chest and upper back, and keep the shoulders relaxed down away from the ears.
Feel the tailbone lengthening back between the heels, elongating the low back while being careful not to tense the butt muscles. Feel the opposition of the heart moving forward and the feet stretching back.
Hold the posture and breathe. As you inhale, allow the heart center to expand. As you exhale, allow the heart to soften open while feeling the strength and support of the entire back.
Inhale, and as you exhale, roll the front side of the body back to the floor, releasing the posture.
Not to be practiced by pregnant women.
Those with high blood pressure, heart disease, a history of stroke, or low back pain should begin with modifications.
Begin with Half Cobra (Sphinx), or Baby Cobra with the arms bent and little to no weight in the arms.
Extend the Crown of the head up and back for a more full expression of the final position (pictured).
Advanced Variation: Bend the knees and arch the crown of the head back toward the soles of the feet.
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