Sanskrit name: Bhujangasana
Pose Level: Beginner
Cobra pose is a beginner backbend that increases the flexibility of the spine. It opens the chest and shoulders, stretches the torso and stimulates the digestive organs for better digestion. It is also great for strengthening the legs, buttocks and back, great for easing sciatica pain.
Its Sanskrit name is Bhujangasana, which is derived from the words bhujanga (meaning “serpent”) and asana (meaning “pose”)
Cobra Pose Step-by-Step
- Lie face-down on the mat, flattening the tops of your feet with the toes pointing back. Place your hands under your shoulders, hugging your elbows close to the body.
- Engage your legs, pull your belly in and up.
- Take an inhale, begin to lift your chest off the floor. Roll your shoulder blades into the upper back. Go only to the height that you can maintain.
- Let your arms be bent, with no weight on the hands yet. Most of the effort should be from the back and legs rather than on the arms. This bent-arm version is called Baby Cobra.
- Exhale and lower your chest and head back to the starting position. Repeat Baby Cobra two more times.
- When you are ready to do the full Cobra pose, take an inhale and lift your chest using your back muscles, begin to straighten the arm and come all the way up to a height where you are able to maintain a connection from the pelvis to the legs.
- Avoid pushing the front ribs out, try to draw your shoulder blades back and lengthen your neck.
- Ensure that you are not dumping your weight into the lower back, but distribute the backbend evenly across the entire spine.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths.
- Exhale and lower the body down, rest on your belly or take Child’s Pose.
- Try to master Baby Cobra before trying the full expression of Cobra pose. Baby Cobra helps to tone the upper back and strengthens your back and legs so that you can enter Cobra pose without excessive reliance on your arms or lower back.
- Go only as far as you feel comfortable. Make sure that your lower back is long and your abdominal muscles are engaged.
- Keep your hips on the floor.
- Relax your shoulders and keep your neck relaxed and soft.
- Point your elbows back rather than out to the sides.
For people with lower back pain, try to stay with Baby Cobra and keep the lift low.
If you have wrist pain, try to bring your hands further in front of you. You can also drop onto your forearms in Sphinx pose.
If you want a stronger backbend, walk your hands back closer to your torso when you come into full cobra (with straight arms).
- Those with back injuries, headaches, carpel tunnel syndrome or are pregnant should avoid this pose
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The YogaMad is founded by Candy, an avid yogini who is passionate about inspiring others to live their best lives while finding mind-body-soul balance. She has a background in business consulting but has left the corporate world in her quest to live out her dreams.