Costa Rica Yoga JournalMark Goldstein

Cobra and Upward Facing Dog


By Mark  Goldstein

This month I would like to present two yoga poses to open your heart. Specifically Cobra and Upward Facing Dog.

We will be practicing these postures in each one of my yoga classes this month, and I encourage you to also include them in your own practices at home. A pose of the month gives those new to yoga a chance to try a new posture. For the seasoned yogi, I hope that it will serve as a chance to revisit and fine tune the basics of these postures. If we get to practice together for the entire month, then we can plan to experience a deepening and advancement of the poses as we go.

Both Cobra and Downward Facing Dog are commonly part of a sequence that we practice in Vinyasa Flow yoga that is called a “ Sun Salutation”.
Playa Yoga

Both are wonderful postures that serve to open the heart, strengthen your back, and invigorate your entire spine. Heart opening postures, which include all back bends, are very energizing and allow us to open up ourselves fully to the world, both physically and emotionally.

Each pose requires a bit of arm strength, with Up Dog being the one which demands a bit more. As mentioned in a few of my past articles, it is important when holding aposture to climb deep inside and determine: “ which of my muscles do I need to use to feel strong and complete in this position, and which ones can I completely release?”

In both poses we are pointing our toes behind, firming our buttocks, pressing down our pelvis, lifting our chest, dropping our shoulders, pressing our shoulder blades back, and reaching the crown of the head up towards the sky. That’s a lot to do! What are we completely releasing? Our hearts, big time!

Thai Yoga
Thai Yoga

There is also a fantastic way to open up even further. There is a method that allows youto achieve all of this with no effort at all, and that is to have this be a part of your traditional Thai Yoga Massage session.Thai Massage is a form of body work that is based in yoga principles, and eliminates your need to use any effort. Along with pressure point therapy, a Thai Massage therapist will move you through a series of body positions, doing all of the work for you, thereby allowing your body to move deeper and more completely.

We will be practicing Cobra and Upward Facing Dog in each of my classes in June, and I will also be including “Assisted Cobra” in each of my Thai Massage sessions. You can join one of my classes at Spa Uno, on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings at 9:00 am. Or we can set up a private session. I offer private one on one, and group classes at your home, guesthouse, or one the Jungle Deck at Spa Uno. Your yoga practice can be a wonderful part of your life, and I hope that I can play a part in opening that up to you. I am also a licensed massage therapist, and offer both Deep-Tissue and traditional Thai Yoga Massage. Please call locally at 8-388-6960, or visit my web site at