bhujaṅga भुजङ्ग, serpent. Bhujaga भुजग, serpent, snake. Note: cobra nāga नाग.
This position, which appears easy has many details that need to be respected in order to do it correctly. The two main details are the positioning of the arms and hands and the positioning of the feet (toes touch one another and ankles are rotated outward). The correct "bhujangasana" is also kown as Vakra Hasta Bhujangasana (Snake with curved forarms (vakra hasta वक्र हस्त)). The variation called Saral Hasta Bhujangasana (Snake with straight forarms (sarala hasta सरल हस्त)) is not the main position but a variation that should be explored only once the main position has been learned.
Vakra Hasta Bhujangasana (backward bending - with curved hands)
- Bring both the hands at the level of the shoulders, touching the shoulders with the thumbs, palms on the floor and fingers pointing forward.
- Elbows of both hands are touching the flanks.
- The forehead is on the ground, the chin is tilting towards the sternum
- Exhale in the initial position.
- Inhale while uncoiling the head, chin grazing the floor.
- Continue inhaling, uncoiling one vertebra after another starting from the first cervical and going down towards the lumbar ones.
- The movement is generated only through the muscles of the back and neck, the muscles of the arm are inactive.
- The uncoiling of the spine aims at creating an even arc from neck to lower back.
- Once the body has reached maximal extension, exhale while inversing the movement until coming back into initial position.
- Repeat 3 times. At the end of the last extension, starts the static phase
- Start using the arms to push the trunk further into extension. The abdominal area slightly goes above the ground.
- The shoulders remain dropped.
- Tilt the pelvis forward along an imaginary axis going through the belly button, bringing the belly button as near to the ground as possible.
- Apply several complete breathing.
- Come back to the ground, first relaxing the arms, then the spine, in reverse order from the ascension.
- Rotate the head to one side
- Bring the arms parallel to the body.
- The hands, in the form of fists, can be brought between the ground and the belly, which slightly elevates the lower back and ease the relaxation. Alternatively, balasana (child pose) can be adopted.
Saral Hasta Bhujangasana (backward bending - with straight hands)