Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Bhujangasana, Cobra Pose
Sanskrit
भुजङ्गासन / Bhujaṅgāsana
Pronunciation
boo-jang-GAHS-suh-nuh
Meaning
bhujanga: “snake/serpent”
āsana: “posture”

Introduction

Cobra Pose is one of the most important back bending postures in all of yoga.

It’s almost the quintessential “heart-opening” posture, and as such, it helps us to face the world with openness, excitement, and vulnerability. It also has an enormous energizing effect and helps to correct postural imbalances.

A close cousin of Cobra Pose, namely Upward Facing Dog, is often seen in the  classic Sun Salutation sequence, which is the foundation of most systems of Vinyasa Yoga. However, the two poses are different in subtle but important ways.

Even though Cobra Pose is seen as being foundational by most forms of Hatha Yoga, it is a fairly intense pose for most beginners and takes a long time to master. The complete version of the pose is quite advanced, and it is generally modified when seen in mixed-level yoga classes. Luckily the modifications have great value and can make the pose accessible to a beginner.

The findings of this exploratory study suggest that 12 weeks’ yoga training programs are effective at increasing maximum oxygen consumption and vital capacity.

Muscle Focus

Cobra Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • Erector Spinae
  • Deltoid
  • Trapezius
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Glutes

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • People who are having mild to severe backache.
  • Prevention of Back Ache.
  • Helps in disk herniation.
  • Chest Muscles Opening (Heart Opening), is especially helpful for people having a sedentary lifestyle.

Benefits of Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose

1. Foundational Pose for Almost all the Backbends

Cobra Pose is a beginner-friendly backbend that can serve as the foundation for almost all other backbends. As you become more comfortable with the pose, you will be able to move on to deeper and more advanced variations.

2. Stretches Chest and Abdominal Muscles

This pose stretches the chest and abdominal muscles, which can help to improve digestion and relieve stress.

3. Energizing

This pose is energizing and helps to correct postural imbalances. It also has an expansive quality that can help you face the world with openness and vulnerability.

4. Opens Heart Center

The Cobra Pose is a quintessential heart-opening posture. It helps to clear the passages of the heart and lungs and improves circulation of blood and oxygen, especially throughout the spinal and pelvic regions.

5. Decreases Stiffness in your Lower Back

This pose can help to decrease stiffness in your lower back, which can be beneficial if you experience chronic pain in that area.

6. Tones the Buttocks

The Cobra Pose helps to tone the buttocks and invigorate the heart.

7. Helpful in Sciatica

If you suffer from sciatica, this pose can provide relief.

8. Helpful in Asthma

This pose can help to ease symptoms of asthma by stimulating the organs in the abdomen, like the kidneys.

9. Improves Menstrual Irregularities

The Cobra Pose can improve menstrual irregularities by increasing flexibility and toning the abdominal muscles.

10.  Soothes Stress and Fatigue

This pose can soothe stress and fatigue by relieving tension in the lower back and stimulating the organs in the abdomen.

11.  Helps to Prevent any Sort of Backache

If done correctly the Cobra Pose helps to prevent any sort of backache from mild to severe by strengthening the spine and stretching the chest and abdominal muscles.

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.

Variations

  • Ardh Bhujangasana (Baby Cobra Pose)
  • Sarpasana (Snake Pose)

Preparatory Pose

  • Ardh Bhujangasana (Baby Cobra Pose)
  • Sarpasana (Snake Pose)
  • Ashtanga Namaskar (Eight-Limb Pose)

Beginner’s Tips

  • Make sure to keep your elbows by the side of your body and press your feet and legs into the mat.
  • Make sure to engage your core muscles and hip muscles to support your spine.
  • Do not force your body into the pose, go only as far as you feel comfortable.
  • If you experience any pain in your lower back, come out of the pose.
  • If you already have a backache practice it while keeping a comfortable gap between the legs.

How to do Cobra Pose

  • Begin by lying on your stomach with your legs straight and your arms at your sides.
  • Place your palms underneath the shoulders, elbows pointing back and up.
  • Press your feet and legs into the mat.
  • Inhale as you slowly lift your head, chest, and arms off the mat. Keep your navel and hips on the floor.
  • Look straight ahead or up at the sky.
  • Hold for a few seconds then exhale and slowly lower your head, chest, and arms to the mat.
  • Repeat as desired.

Mental Benefits of Cobra Pose

  • Helps to elevate your mood and reduce anxiety.
  • Focus and concentration.
  • Helps to clear the negative emotions that we carry within.

Bottom Line

The Cobra Pose is a great pose for beginners and can provide a host of benefits, including increased flexibility, improved digestion, relief from sciatica and asthma symptoms, and toning of the body. As you become more comfortable with the pose, you can move on to deeper and more advanced variations. Be sure to take it slow and listen to your body as you practice. Thanks for reading!

1 sources
  1. http://www.ijpehss.org/admin/image/b4947659ffeee4a3298858bb88a7e1f41561055866546.pdf
Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga. She is known around the world for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was also recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. Meera is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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