Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

English Name(s)

Bhujangasana, Cobra Pose

Sanskrit

भुजङ्गासन / Bhujaṅgāsana

Pronunciation

boo-jang-GAHS-suh-nuh

Meaning

bhujanga: “snake/serpent”
āsana: “posture”

Physical Benefits

Bhujangasana (boo-jang-GAHS-suh-nuh) increases spinal flexibility and strength and brings a rich blood supply to the spine, which in turn rejuvenates the spinal nerves. It also activates, massages and tones back muscles. This pose helps a slipped disc and minor lower back pain and injury. It also fully opens the chest, giving strength and elasticity to the lungs, which helps with asthma and respiratory problems. Bhujangasana massages the abdominal organs, especially the kidneys and liver, stimulates the adrenal glands, and is good for dyspepsia and vata diseases. It also brings more blood to the pelvic area, keeping it healthy; while relieving menstrual problems and problems with the uterus and ovaries.

Energetic Benefits

Bhujangasana opens up the chest cavity and shoulders, releasing and removing the heaviness of the body and mind. This asana, like Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, removes dullness in the mind, preparing the body and the mind to be strong in overcoming challenges in life. There is a very beautiful story in the Ramayana where Lord Hanuman tears open his chest to show his devotion to Lord Ram and Mother Sita: After Lord Rama came back from his 14 years in the jungle and winning over Ravana, he was coronated as Ayodhya Naresh, the King of Ayodhya. In the celebration, precious ornaments and gifts were distributed to everyone. Hanuman was also gifted a beautiful necklace of diamonds by Mother Sita.

Hanuman took the necklace, carefully examined each and every diamond, pulled them apart, and threw them away. Most were surprised by his behavior.

When asked why he was throwing away the precious diamonds, he replied that he couldn’t find Rama in any one of them. Thus, they carried no worth to him since anything in which there is no Rama is without worth.

When asked if Lord Rama was in Hanuman himself, he tore his chest apart to reveal his heart. The on-lookers, now convinced of his genuine devotion, saw the image of both Rama and Sita appearing on his heart.

Contraindications

Women who are menstruating or pregnant should avoid this pose. If you have any neck injury or pain keep the head upright. If your lower back hurts, tighten the buttocks or keep the legs hip-width distance or do Urdhva Mukha Svanasana instead.

Going into the Pose

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Meera Watts

Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

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