Contributor: Sandra Fang, Yin Yang Japan Ambassador
I’m Chinese Canadian from Vancouver, Canada. It’s been more than seven years since I first landed in Japan fresh and naive after my university graduation.
About this column
Welcome to my Yin Yang yoga wear column! As a long-time yoga practitioner and yoga teacher, I’m aware of the immense benefits yoga can offer to anyone. Whether you’re attracted to yoga for physical health, for a healthier lifestyle, for better focus on work, or for better relationships with others, yoga can help on all those aspects. Unfortunately there’s only so much I can share in this column, so don’t hesitate to join classes at your local studio and to practice with professional teachers regularly to receive the full benefits of yoga.
As a vinyasa yoga practitioner, the cobra pose is a basic backbend pose that I do at least a few times every time I step on my yoga mat. Sometimes poses you do so often, you start to perform them on autopilot without giving them a second thought. Until when I became a mother, I started to put my boy on his tummy for a few minutes everyday since he was two-week old, so that he can practice lifting his head and strengthening his back muscles. I observed him struggle and cry at the beginning, until a few-month old that he can proudly lift his head and chest high.
I thought to myself, the cobra pose is probably the second yoga-like posture a human masters after shavasana!
When infants are born, their spines have a convex curve in the shape of the letter C. As they practice this cobra-pose-like posture, they are strengthening their muscles that give them the two curves in the neck and the lower back to form the letter S in the spines. It’s their curiosity for the world around them that gives them the strength to do cobra. The world for them is full of wonders and beauty.
But since when as we become older, we lose interests in the world around us, we start to live our lives on autopilot. Instead of lifting the chest, we allow stress and negativity to bring our spine back to the letter C, slouching like a halloween cat.
So much scientific research has proven the influence posture has on the mind. The next time you practice cobra pose, feel the openness of the chest and the strength in the back, feel your lower body grounding down as you lift your upper body high and proud. Let the pose rejuvenate our body and mind, and to reconnect with the world around us. Let our posture change our thoughts, our mood, and our perspective on life.