Backbends are being among the most challenging yoga exercise postures for many people because we spend so much of our daily lives in a forward-bending position. If you spend much of your workday hunched in front of a computer, you almost certainly have chronic tightness in the spine, upper body, and shoulders. Backbends can help release that tightness, & most iyengar yoga exercise classes include some form of back bend.

The cobra pose is among the most basic backbends & most yoga beginners can control it. When done correctly it opens the chest and promotes a strong spine.

Start by lying face down on your mat. Bend your elbows and place your palms next to your armpits. Inhale, and press your palms into the floor to help engage your back muscle groups as your raise your chest and head. Make an effort to hold for five breaths.

If you have lower back pain, spread your legs wider than your hips. Or else, keep your legs together with the tops of your foot pressing in to the floor.

To help make the cobra more difficult, place your palms farther down your torso, close to your navel, before you lift up.