Bhujangasana (say “boo-jang-GAHS-anna”) is a yoga pose in which the participant mimics a cobra lifting its head and spreading its hood—hence the English translation of “cobra pose.” It is a stimulating and invigorating pose that stretches shoulder, chest and abdominal muscles while also toning the arms, shoulders and behind. It relieves lower back pain and stiffness and massages abdominal organs like the kidneys. As such, it can improve digestion and relieve menstrual difficulties. The cobra pose has also proven helpful for sciatica and asthma. It even boosts your mood, relieving stress and anxiety.
Try the Cobra Pose
Lie flat on your tummy on a level, comfortable floor surface (a yoga mat helps). Bring your feet together. Press the tops of your feet down; they should be flat to the floor, along with your thighs and pubis.
Bring your hands, palms and fingers spread out on the floor, directly under your shoulders. Tuck your elbows snug to your ribs.
Inhale deeply and slowly straighten your arms, lifting your chest up like a cobra. Go only as far as is comfortable for you and do not overarch your back. Keep your legs and pubis firmly rooted to the floor.
Press your tailbone down gently toward the floor while lifting the pubis toward your belly. This action should narrow the hips. Keep your behind firm, but not too hard.
Broaden your shoulders gently, staying relaxed, with the shoulder blades flattened across your back. Without pushing the front of your ribs forward, lift the top of the sternum up gently. Expand your side ribs forward.
The lower back should stay relaxed. Concentrate on evening the stretch gently along your spine.
Once you are in cobra pose, continue breathing naturally for 10 to 15 breaths. Focus on the breath staying even and relaxed. On the last exhalation, gradually ease your body back to the mat or floor.
Things to Consider about the Cobra Pose
If you are pregnant, have a back injury, suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome or headaches, cobra pose may not be appropriate for you at this time. Discuss your concerns, health conditions and options with an experienced yoga instructor. Your instructor can help you adjust and optimize the pose or choose other poses that may work better for you. An experienced instructor can also suggest preliminary poses that can prepare you for a successful cobra pose experience.