Cobra pose has come from the Sanskrit word “Bhujangasana” which consists of two words “Bhujang” and “asana” meaning “serpent” and “pose” respectively.
It is a backward bending pose mostly practiced as an energetic and elated pose in yoga asana.
Cobra pose mainly works upon the vertebral column and increases circulation and extension of various joints. These include:
- Extension of intervertebral joint
- Plantar extension of ankle joint.
- Extension of the hip joint.
- External rotation of the glenohumeral joint.
- Extension of the knee.
It also helps in the awakening of the “Kundalini” by increasing the gastric fire which, in turn, provides various health benefits to the body.
Benefits of Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Various benefits of cobra pose to the body are as follows:
- Lengthens the spine and increases spinal flexibility.
- Opens up the chest, shoulders, and throat.
- Clears the passages of lungs and heart.
- Strengthens the low back, shoulders, and legs.
- Reduces mild depression, anxiety, and stress.
- Tones buttocks and legs.
- Increases energy levels.
- Stimulates abdominal organs such as kidneys.
- Improves digestion.
- Reduces belly fat.
- Soothes sciatica.
- Improves menstrual irregularities.
- Improves circulation of blood and oxygen.
- Reduces the symptoms of asthma.
- Controls the production of steroid hormones.
How to Do Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)? – The Steps
The correct steps for performing the cobra pose are as follows:
- Lie on your stomach with chin touching the floor.
- Keep your legs together and the whole body straight. Soles should be facing upwards.
- Put your palms on the floor at the shoulder level and elbows close to the sides.
- Press the legs and your pubic bone on the floor and knees slightly up to maintain your back steady.
- With an inhalation, press your palm on the floor and raise your head, shoulders, and chest from the navel keeping the connection from pelvic bone to toes with the floor.
- Now, raise your head backward and try to see the ceiling.
- Bend the back and spine further back as far as you can to make an arch to resemble a cobra.
- Your shoulders should be away from your ears and shoulders blades should be firm.
- Hold this position for about 15 to 30 seconds with normal breathing.
- To release the pose take deep exhalation and slowly come to the starting position in the reverse order.
- Repeat the process for 3 to 5 times.
- Baby Cobra Pose (Saral Bhujangasana) – In this pose lift the palm slightly up from the floor (after step 8 above) and hold using your core and legs muscles.
- Twisting Cobra Pose (Tiryaka Bhujangasana) – After reaching full cobra pose, exhale, turn towards the right and look at the left heel over your right shoulder. Inhale and come back to the center. Exhale and twist to the opposite side. Inhale and come back to the center. Repeat for 3 – 5 rounds. Exhale and come back to the floor.
- Striking Cobra Pose (Ardha Utrasana) – Sit on your heels and extend your arms in from of you having hands shoulder-width apart. Bend your lower back and touch the forehead and palms to the floor. Inhale and slowly slid the chest forward just above the floor. Assume cobra pose. Exhale, lift your hip, and slowly slid backward. Repeat this for 4 – 5 times.
- Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana) – Lie on your stomach with legs hip-width apart. Bring your hands forward and place your elbows under the shoulders. Keep your forearms parallel to each other. Inhale and press your forearms to lift your chest, shoulders, and head off the floor. Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds and come back to the starting position and relax.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) Modifications
Different people have different responses to exercises, so in yoga too. It is because of differences in their body types.
So, to gain maximum benefits from cobra pose some modifications may be required.
Here are some Bhujangasana modifications:
- If your back is very stiff and you cannot take it further back. Then practice cobra pose with taking support from the chest.
- Another way to modify cobra pose is to widen your palms a little bit keeping the palms in shoulders line.
- Look straight instead of looking at the ceiling if it causes strain in your neck or spine.
- You can bend your elbows a little backward to release the tension from the lower back.
- Instead of keeping your legs together, you can bring your legs hip-width apart to reduce lower back pressure.
- You can also place your elbows on the floor under your shoulders and apply pressure from there.
Follow Up Poses
- Wild Child’s Pose (Prasarita Balasana)
- Fish Pose (Matyasana)
- Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
- Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
- Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Contraindications and Precautions of Cobra Pose
You should avoid cobra pose in the following situations:
- Stiff shoulders or pain in the shoulder joint.
- Pain in the vertebral column.
- Spine or hip inflexibility.
- Rib or wrist fractures.
- Neck problems.
- Severe Asthma.
- Stomach disorders like ulcers.
- Pregnant or menstruating women.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
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