Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana

Cobra Pose - Bhujangasana via flckr
Pronunciation: boo-jang-GAHS-anna
Pose Type: Seated, Back Bend Poses

Cobra pose, or Bhujangasana, is a back bend performed on the floor. It simulates the strength and poise of a cobra rising up to examine their environment. It warms up the torso and is often part of the Sun Salutation sequence at the beginning of a yoga practice before the yogi starts Upward Facing Dog. This pose also brings fire into the arms and shoulders and aids in the flexibility of the spine.

The aim of Cobra pose is to distribute the backbend evenly throughout the entire spine. You’ll hold the pose anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, keeping your breath steady and even. Most beginners have tightness in the lower back and hips that prevent them from reaching the full expression of the pose, but give it time. It’s important to keep the pelvis and legs firmly engaged with the floor in this pose, so going only halfway up is fine until you gain more experience.

Pose Sequence

You can come into this pose during the Sun Salutation vinyasa sequence. We’ll start from a lying position, face down on your mat.:

  1. Start by stretching your legs away from your head and your head away from your feet.
  2. Spread the hands on the floor just under your shoulders, hugging the elbows against the body.
  3. Press the tops of your feet and thighs and pelvis bones firmly into the floor.
  4. On an inhale, begin to straighten the arms and peel the chest off the floor, going only as high as you can maintain a connection with the floor through your pelvis and down your legs.
  5. Firm up, but don’t clench the buttocks. Firm the shoulder blades, pulling them down the back, and puff the side ribs forward.
  6. Gaze is forward and slightly up, just like a cobra.

Releasing this pose is done on an exhale as you slowly lower your body back to the floor. As you practice this pose, feel the stability and support of your pelvis and legs.

Benefits of Cobra Pose

The benefits of this pose include:

  • Chest opening and heat building around the heart
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Opens the shoulders and abdomen
  • Relieves stress and fatigue

Ancient texts say that bhujangasana increases the body heat, destroying disease and awakening kundalini.

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By Virginia O'Connor

Co-founder of and writer/content manager.