What is the cobra position in yoga? The cobra pose, also known as Bhujangasana in Sanskrit, is a yoga posture that strengthens the muscles along your spine. This position encourages positive energy to flow throughout the entire body, leading to an inner sense of peace and clarity. Connecting with this posture helps to activate and energise your body and revitalise your mind.
This gentle backend part of a Sun Salutation is a foundational pose that can serve as either a warm-up or preparatory position for more intense postures like Ustrasana (Camel) and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog). It targets the core and back, strengthening abdominal muscles while stretching and toning the muscles along the spine.
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How To Do The Cobra PoseHere’s the breakdown of how to do the cobra pose in yoga.
- Lie on your stomach with your feet hip-distance apart and your hands beside your ribs.
- Extend your big toes straight back and press down with all ten toenails.
- Inhale, press down lightly with your hands, and lift your head and chest.
- Roll your shoulders back and down at the same time.
- Keep the back of your neck long and in a neutral position without lifting the chin.
- Straighten your arms while keeping at least a slight bend in your elbows.
- Hold this position for a few breaths before lowering back to the floor with an exhale.
To come out of the pose, release back to your yoga mat.
Benefits: What Is The Cobra Pose Good For?
The cobra pose is good for improving posture, relieving lower back pain, easing sleep patterns, energising the body and mind, as well as reducing symptoms of mild depression.
Helps with sleep
When it comes to calming the mind and body, the cobra pose is one of the best poses to practice. This is because it helps to increase the flow of oxygen and prana (life force energy) throughout your body. If you combine it with a few minutes of mindful breathing, the cobra pose can create physical relaxation and mental clarity, leading to better sleep.
Improves your posture
With the cobra pose, you’ll feel all the skeletal threads pull up through and out of one another, which gives you a sensation of alignment. Perfecting your posture goes beyond what you can see on the outside—it’s a practice rooted deep within the soul. Incorporating this position support your spine and strengthen the muscles that keep you upright.
Relieves lower back pain
The arching of your spine through the cobra pose sends healing energy to this area. Cobra pose penetrates deep into the spine, looking past the surface level to get at underlying muscles and joints. Using this posture corrects body imbalances that often cause stiffness and tension.
Boosts energy and fights fatigue
The gentle cobra posture sources your body with an improved energy flow and vibrancy. You may even find a stamina increase on day-to-day activities like taking a walk or doing chores around the house. Additionally, the cobra pose helps the body eliminate fatigue by unblocking the stagnant energies that occur when we slump over and become lethargic.
Reduce symptoms of mild depression
As you breathe deeper in this position, you create a sense of inner tranquillity that allows a natural calming effect to take over. With greater oxygen intake, more energy and strength are also exchanged, which brings peace and clarity and regulates emotions.
Counteracts the effects of prolonged sitting
The muscles around our spine and abdomen become atrophied when staying sedentary, resulting in poor posture and back pain. Cobra pose acts as an antidote by lengthening and strengthening these same muscles, allowing us to sit with more stability and ease.
Muscles Worked And Stretched In Cobra Pose
Your shoulder blades are brought together while your spine lengthens as the chest is lifted. The abdomen is activated, massaging internal organs. This pose opens the heart to accept and send love while working the glutes, hamstrings, chest and back muscles. Releasing tension from your back allows for spine and hip flexibility that can be kept throughout everyday life.
Tips For Improving Your Cobra Pose
Whether you’ve just started practising yoga this week or have been doing it for a while, this set of tips will serve as a reminder to refine your cobra pose to express strength, power and grace.
From proper alignment to core strengthening, here they are.
- Start off slowly, and don’t rush the pose. Make sure that you warm up before doing it.
- Engage your core as much as possible and remember to breathe deeply throughout.
- Keep your hips close to the ground and move your shoulder blades down your back.
- Press firmly into your hands while lifting your chest away from the floor.
- Avoid overstretching yourself and always listen to your body’s cues.
Variations Of Cobra Pose
Depending on each person’s level of experience and strength, the cobra yoga pose has some variations and modifications that are worth trying to enrich your practice.
Cobra pose with yoga props
To take the load off your lower back, grab a cushion, folded blankets or a pillow and slide it under your hips. If you’re still feeling any tension down there, spread your feet like wildflowers to create more room in the pelvic region while soothingly activating the glutes.
Cobra pose in a chair
Sit comfortably upright in a chair with your hands gently rested on your lap. Start to bend back slightly as you press your chest forward and tilt your chin up. Look forward and cast your eyes ahead so that the gaze is directed upwards. The key to this variation is to remain aware of how much backbend feels good in your body as you stay connected with your breath.
Cobra pose against a wall
Step up to a wall and place your feet about a foot away from it, then press your hands into the wall. Bend your elbows inwards, and keep them firmly against your body as you press forwards into the wall for more intensity. Slowly arch your back and lift your chin slightly.
Common Mistakes When Doing The Cobra Pose
An integral part of this journey is recognising and learning from your mistakes. Understanding them helps you get the most out of the position.
Not engaging the core muscles
It’s easy to ignore this step and focus on the spinal extension, but it’s vital for counteracting the backbend and protecting your neck. Keep those core muscles active by pressing down through the tops of your feet and lifting pulled inward through your navel.
Flaring the elbows
Another common mistake people make when doing the cobra pose is flaring their elbows. This puts unnecessary pressure on your wrists and can lead to pain or injury. Make sure to keep your elbows close to your body as you extend them backwards.
Arching the back too much
Forcing a deep back bend can tense and strain that you didn’t intend to have. Instead of signing up for back pain, practice finding your natural range of motion—that way, you’ll be able to stay comfortably engaged throughout the pose. Just arch your back enough to feel a gentle stretch in your chest and shoulders.
Holding your breath
When doing the cobra pose, breathing deeply and slowly through your nose is important. Holding your breath can cause you to feel lightheaded or dizzy, and it can also make it difficult to maintain the pose. So make sure to breathe deeply and slowly as you do the cobra pose.
Going too deep into the pose
Listen to your body. If it’s telling you that you need to practice a shallower form of this posture before taking on a deeper expression, skip the temptation to challenge yourself beyond what feels comfortable and safe. Remember, increasing flexibility over time is far better than rushing and forcing yourself into poses.
Who Should Not Do The Cobra Pose?
You shouldn’t do the cobra pose if you have recently injured your lower back, neck, arms, or shoulders. As obvious as it may sound, it’s also not recommended for pregnant women or anyone who has undergone abdominal surgery. And ideally, people with severe carpal tunnel syndrome or wrist issues have to consult a doctor before attempting this yoga asana.
Embrace All The Potential Of Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Now that you know all about the cobra pose and how to do it, give it a try. Remember to listen to your body and mind while doing the pose, and never force yourself beyond your limits. Cobra pose is an excellent way to relieve stress, improve flexibility, and tone core muscles. With regular practice, you’ll notice improvements in your strength and balance.