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Cobra pose (Bhujangasana) meaning, steps, benefits and precautions

Cobra pose is a back bending yoga pose that is practiced by intermediate to advanced level practitioners. This pose is also done as a part of Surya Namaskar (The Sun Salutation). It is considered to be a very powerful yogasana and allows your body to go into a deep backbend.

Cobra pose meaning, steps, benefits and precautions

Bhujangasana meaning

Bhujangasana gets its name from two sanskrit words.

  • ‘Bhujang’ which means a serpent in sanskrit
  • ‘Asana’ means pose

The name of the pose translates to serpent pose. Since the final position looks like the hood of a cobra, it is referred as the cobra pose in english.

Cobra pose (Bhujangasana) meaning, steps, benefits and precautions

How to do the Cobra pose?

Although doing a Cobra pose is fairly simple, it is very important to be careful of not overstretching when you are just starting your yoga practice. Here is a step by step guide to do the cobra pose or bhujangasana.

Step one

Lie down flat on your stomach with your toes on the floor pointing straight back. Bring your elbows close to the sides of your body and put your palms on the floor under your shoulders. 

Step two

Press your thigh firmly to the floor and lift up your body as you inhale. Press your palms to the floor while inhaling and straighten your arms as your upper body and chest rises from the floor. This has to be done only to the point where your navel is just above the floor. Your pelvis and lower body has to be completely in contact with the floor.

It is very important to ensure that your hands are kept perfectly aligned to your shoulders in this step. If they are too far in front of your body, the stretch during the backbend will not be uniform. 

Step three

Squeeze and tighten your buttocks muscles and lift your head. Breathe normally and try to hold the position for upto 10 breaths or 20-30 seconds.

Please be sure that you have not straightened your arms too much where your elbows are locked. There should be a slight bend in the elbows and they should be pointing straight in the backward direction.

Step four

Bring your body down as you exhale and repeat this cycle a few times depending on your comfort level. 

Step five

After a few repetitions, bring your body down and take rest while lying down on your belly with your complete body in contact with the floor. 

Benefits of the Cobra pose

  1. Cobra pose can be very helpful in improving the flexibility and mobility of the practitioner’s spine. It strengthens the back muscles and can be very helpful for people suffering from long term back pain issues as well.
  2. It provides relief from fatigue and improves overall physical and mental well being.
  3. Bhujangasana is also very helpful for people suffering from issues like Sciatica where it can help in providing long term relief.
  4. With a deep backbend, the Cobra pose helps in proper stretching of the yogi’s chest, shoulders and abdomen. It also helps in toning up the buttocks.

Precautions and contraindications

  1. People who are suffering/have suffered from back injuries should be very careful before practicing Bhujangasana as it aggravates the problem for such practitioners. 
  2. This pose is not advisable for practice to pregnant women as it puts a lot of pressure on abdominal poses which should be avoided.

Yoga poses related to the Cobra pose

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