How to Do Cobra Pose in Yoga (Guide to Bhujangasana)

Cobra pose is a heart-opening asana woven into nearly every yoga class. Regardless of the style of yoga you’re practicing, you can expect to go through the pose at least once in your session. For that reason, it would be good to perfect the position on its own, making sure you’re performing it properly during the class – and gaining maximum benefits.

Known as Bhujangasana in Sanskrit, Cobra pose stretches your abdomen, shoulders, and chest while strengthening your entire back. It’s particularly helpful for those struggling with chronic back pain or bad posture.

What makes this pose particularly beneficial in the modern age is that it counteracts forward motions many of us make throughout the day. That’s especially true for those who work a sedentary office job or anyone else who spends a lot of time behind their computer or phone screen.

Although the Cobra pose is typically incorporated into Sun Salutations, it is a powerful pose on its own and something we would all benefit from doing every day.

“Gheranda Samhita, one of the original hatha yoga texts, states that Cobra pose helps to destroy disease and awaken the Kundalini,” says Yoga Answered contributor Sara Popovic. “In fact, in the ancient yogic tradition, Kundalini energy is often represented as a coiled snake at the base of the spine.”

Cobra Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Bhujangasana
Pose Type: Chest-Opening Yoga Poses, Yoga Backbend Poses
Difficulty Level: Beginner pose
Targets: Back, Shoulders, Biceps, Chest, Abdomen
Benefits: Like all backbends, Cobra pose helps to strengthen your back and improve the mobility of the spine, which can, in turn, help you to improve your posture. It may also boost your energy, combat fatigue and insomnia, reduce inflammation, and increase self-confidence. It is also believed that Cobra pose balances the chakras, particularly the Swadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, and Vishudhi chakras.
Preparatory Poses: Locust pose, Sphinx pose, Child’s pose

How to Do Cobra Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Begin lying on your belly, with your arms under your head and your feet hip-width distance apart.
  2. Place your palms on the ground directly under your shoulders. Bend your elbows and keep them close to your sides
  3. Press down with your hands, and slowly lift your head and chest. Roll your shoulders back and keep them away from your ears
  4. As you’re moving up in the pose, press down with your toes to activate the quadriceps, and open your inner thighs upwards to open the lower back.
  5. There should always be a slight bend in the elbows, and to make sure your neck is neutral, keep the gaze to the floor.
  6. When exiting the pose, slowly release your back to the mat. You can rest your forehead on your hands, or rotate your head to one side to rest.

Beginner’s Tip

It is possible to feel compression in the lower back during the pose. If you feel any discomfort in the low back, reduce the intensity of the pose by staying lower in the pose, or try to widen your feet more. Make sure your elbows are always close to your sides instead of opening them out, as that will create more space in the chest. Finally, if the pose isn’t comfortable for you, try staying in the Sphinx pose.

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