Cobra Pose is another baby backbend that can be called High Cobra or Full Cobra. The previous backbends I've posted for beginners to start a progressive backbend practice are Sphinx Pose and Low Cobra Pose. Cobra Pose sets the groundwork for deeper more advanced backbends, enjoying the benefits as you progress slowly.
One of the benefits of Yoga, rarely, if ever, is a pose isolated to a specific part of the body, Yoga generally incorporates most of the body. For Cobra Pose it links major parts of the body including the legs, pelvis, and belly also incorporating the arms, shoulders, back and neck. Working all these parts of the body together to decompress our compressed spine. Be patient and curious testing the stretch without pain or discomfort.
To move into Cobra Pose: Lie on the floor belly side down. Hands at the nipple line. Press the tops of the feet into the floor and on an inhalation lift the head, neck, and shoulders while the sacrum is being drawn toward the legs as you firm the the belly. At the same time slowly push the hands into the floor coming into Cobra. The shoulder blades are being drawn into the upper back with the shoulders dropping away from the ears. Incorporate the upper and middle spine as it lengthens all the way up through the neck and crown of the head as the back flows into a backbend. Keep the arms next to the body and if it's comfortable straighten the arms to the point you can maintain contact with the hips and legs on the floor. Lift the sternum while maintaining a smooth flowing backbend.
Come out of the pose between 15 to 30 seconds sooner if needed. Exhale and slowly lower back down to the floor lengthening the spine forward as you come down. Long slow breath as you rest; notice the sensations in the spine as well as your mind.
The benefits of Cobra pose: Increases flexibility and strength in the spine, builds strength in the muscles of the upper back, shoulders and arms. Helps remove rounded shoulders, works the digestive organs, opens the chest, tones the buttocks, and may lesson sciatic pain and helps relieve menstrual issues. With this energizing backbend it can also help reduces stress.
If you find this pose to be to difficult due to inflexibility in your spine or not enough strength, then go back to Low Cobra or Sphinx pose until your spinal flexibility and strength improves.
Happy & Healthy