āsana lab: tantric haṭha’s bhujaṅgāsana (cobra pose)

Introducing our weekly a Āsana Lab where we invite a triyoga teacher to unpack, pick apart and rebuild a posture unique to the yoga style in which they specialise. This week, Tantric Haṭha teacher James French scrutinises bhujaṅgāsana, or cobra pose.

In this style of yoga we hold the āsana for several minutes with closed eyes and focus on the chakra, or energy centre that is being activated. Often an āsana will send the prāna (energy) to more than just one chakra so even more important than pose itself, is what is happening with our awareness or point of focus. Where the mind goes, the energy flows!

To prepare, lie on your front with the toes pointed to the back of the room, ensuring that the feet do not touch each other. Bring the hands under the shoulders and raise the torso by grounding into the hands and straightening the arms. The pelvis should stay on the earth, so if it begins to lift, you can walk your hands forwards to bring it back down. Lift the chin only as much feels comfortable to you.

Close the eyes and bring all of your awareness to anāhata chakra in the centre of your chest. If it feels too intense or if you have any discomfort in the lower back, bring the forearms to the floor and come to sphinx pose instead, with the elbows underneath the shoulders. In both variations, draw the shoulders away from the ears and relax the root of the tongue, the muscles of the face and any other areas of unnecessary tension.  Stay in the pose and meditate on the chakra for as long as feels right to you. If you feel any pain or discomfort, come out of the āsana. You can build up the duration of the pose over time. As you hold the pose, earth energy comes up from the earth beneath you, travels up the spine and flows into the heart chakra.

At the same time, cosmic energy from above enters directly into this energy centre. So you have both kinds of energy, feeding and nourishing and bringing back to health anāhata chakra. This is your ability to give and receive love.

True love.

Unconditional love. Love that needs no object, but is simply a state of being. It is the source of your compassion, empathy, altruism and peace.

When it is time to come out, very gently and slowly lower yourself down to the mat. You can remain with your forehead resting on your hands for a few breaths and then push back to balāsana (child’s pose) when it feels right to you. Remain with the eyes closed and the awareness in the centre of the chest for an awareness phase.  See if you can notice anything happening there. Are you experiencing any vibrations or energising? Perhaps some spontaneous feelings of love or compassion.

For an added boost perform the technique whilst listening to “Deborah’s Theme” by Ennio Morricone or any favoured piece of heart music.

“Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi

Join James French for a 4 week Tantric Vinyasa course beginning 8th December in Camden. He is also teaching a weekend of workshops in Soho on the 16th and 17th December and a New Year’s Day heart opening workshop in Shoreditch. Click here to book now and find out more.

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