Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana is a beginning backbend in yoga that helps to prepare the body for deeper backbends. Its name comes from the Sanskrit words, “bhujanga” and “asana” (meaning “serpent” and “pose,” respectively). Cobra is an essential element of Sun Salutations, and is an alternative to practicing Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) in the Sun Salutations sequences.
What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this asana. Have your meals at least four to six hours before you do the asana. Please do not practice Cobra if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, or a recent back or wrist injury. Women who are pregnant should avoid practicing this pose while on the floor, although they may practice it standing with their palms against a wall. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities.
How To Do The Bhujangasana : Step-by-Step Instructions
1. Lie flat on your stomach. Place your hands on the side and ensure that your toes touch each other.
2. Then, move your hands to the front, making sure they are at the shoulder level, and place your palms on the floor.
3. Now, placing your body’s weight on your palms, inhale and raise your head and trunk.
4. Note that your arms should be bent at your elbows at this stage.
5. You need to arch your neck backward in an attempt to replicate the cobra with the raised hood. But make sure your shoulder blades are firm, and your shoulders are away from your ears.
6. Press your hips, thighs, and feet to the floor.
7. Hold the asana for about 15 to 30 seconds while breathing normally. Feel your stomach pressed against the floor. With practice, you should be able to hold the asana for up to two minutes.
8. To release the pose, slowly bring your hands back to the sides. Rest your head on the ground by bringing your forehead in contact with the floor. Place your hands under your head. Then, slowly rest your head on one side and breathe.
Practicing Cobra can energize and warm the body, preparing it for deeper backbends in your yoga practice. Keep the following information in mind when performing this pose:
- Strongly engage your legs, pressing them down firmly on the floor. This will help to lift your chest higher in the pose.
- Be careful not to force yourself into the pose, striving for a deeper backbend. Do not push yourself into the pose! Instead, lift yourself into it by using the strength of your back muscles and by pressing down through your thighs. You should be able to lift your hands off the floor for a moment, feeling the lift through extension rather than force.
- Remember, the depth of your backbend doesn’t matter! What matters is the even distribution of curve and the ability to breathe smoothly while in the pose.
Don’t overdo the backbend. To find the height at which you can work comfortably and avoid straining your back, take your hands off the floor for a moment, so that the height you find will be through extension.
Modifications & Variations
If you are experiencing discomfort in your back or neck, only lift your chest as far as you can without causing pain. To deepen or lighten the pose, try these simple changes to find a variation that works for you:
- If your spine and shoulders are very stiff, or if you are pregnant, try practicing Cobra standing up instead of on the floor. Stand facing a wall and place your palms against the wall, with your elbows hugged in to your sides. As you press against the wall, draw your shoulder blades firmly into your upper back and broaden across your collar bones.
- For those with more back strength, you can deepen the challenge by lifting your palms off the floor, keeping your chest lifted. Keep your hands and arms in the same position as they were on the floor, but raise your hands a few inches off the mat. Maintain the pose for a few breaths. This variation emphasizes lifting with the back muscles, rather than pressing the body away from the mat.
Benefits Of The Cobra Pose
These are some amazing benefits of Bhujangasana.
- It is a deep backbend that makes the spine stronger and more flexible.
- It also tones the organs that lie in the lower abdomen.
- It stimulates the digestive, reproductive, and urinary systems.
- It helps regulate metabolism, thus balancing the weight.
- It makes the buttocks firm.
- It gives the lungs, shoulders, chest, and abdomen a good stretch.
- It works as a great stress release.
- This asana is known to open up the lungs and the heart.
- It relieves sciatica and asthma.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Cobra Pose can be a great way to stretch out your spine and chest throughout the day. It counteracts the slouch that comes from sitting in front of a computer or driving. Bringing more flexibility to your spine will help you to feel more balanced, while opening your chest and heart will energize and rejuvenate you throughout the day!