Cobra Pose, Bhujangasana, (Bhoo-Jung-Gaa-Suh-Nuh)
bhujanga (cobra) + asana (posture)
Also known as: Upward Dog Pose
Pose Type: Stress Relief, Stretching, Strengthening, Back Pain, Sciatica, Digestion
Open your heart and stretch your shoulders with Cobra Pose.
Cobra Pose Fundamentals
Cobra Pose is a generous heart-opening backbend. Feel your chest radiate outwards as you unfurl into this pose.
You can flow through Cobra Pose in a Sun Salutation sequence in place of an Upward Facing Dog Pose.
Be aware of not straining your spine by pushing upwards too hard with your hands or coming into a Cobra too quickly. Instead, be sure that the pressure is evenly distributed throughout your spine, and bring your Cobra closer to the earth if you feel a pinching sensation.
Cobra Pose Benefits
- Strengthens the spine
- Stretches the front body: chest, abs, and shoulders
- Stimulates the digestive organs
- Opens up the lungs and heart
- Soothes backache and sciatica
- An energy booster, fight fatigue with this pose
- Improves posture
How To Do The Cobra Pose: Step-By-Step
How to get there:
1. Begin on your mat, lying flat on your front, with the tops of your feet resting on the floor.
2. Stretch your legs to the back of the mat as you place your palms flat on the mat underneath your shoulders, fingers splayed. Keep the elbows hugged in tight to the sides of your torso.
3. Inhale and straighten your arms to lift your chest off the floor. The goal here is to lift your chest as high as possible while still being comfortable and maintaining contact between your pubis and the mat (it’s normal that your arms will still be slightly bent here!).
4. Tuck your tailbone under towards the navel, as you press the tops of the feet, thighs and pubis down into the mat. Draw your shoulder blades back and down.
5. Remain here for 5 deep breaths – maybe incorporating a hissing exhale to show of their best cobra impression!
Tips And Tricks:
- In Cobra Pose, you may be tempted you clench and squeeze your buttocks- don’t! Squeezing your glutes can compress your lower back, adding pressure to your spine. Instead, keep your glutes relaxed and rotate your inner thighs upwards to lengthen your tailbone backwards.
- Be gentle with yourself in Cobra Pose, if you feel a pinching sensation, lower towards the earth by inching your palms further forward on the mat.
Cobra pose variation: Cobra Pose Hands Off The Floor
Challenge your back strength in Cobra Pose by hovering your hands off the earth. This variation will increase your body awareness and ensure that you don’t force yourself into a Cobra Pose that is too intense.
Cobra pose variation: Sphinx Pose
If Cobra Pose is too intense a back stretch for you right now, swap it out with Sphinx Pose, Cobra Pose’s gentler sister pose.
How To Get There:
1. Lay down on your belly and place your forearms in front of you, palms facing down and arms shoulder-width apart.
2. Bring your elbows directly under your shoulders and your hands in line with your elbows.
3. Separate your feet to hip-width and press the tops of your feet down into the mat as you spread your toes wide.
4. Slide your chest forward and up while allowing the tops of your shoulders to soften down away from your ears as you relax your neck and jaw.
5. Hold the pose for 60 seconds or more and then slowly come out using your exhalation.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Cobra Pose puts pressure through your wrists. If you suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, enter Cobra Pose consciously. If this pose is painful for you, consider Sphinx Pose.
It’s best to avoid Cobra Pose if you are pregnant as the pose puts pressure on your belly area.
Spinal and Neck Injuries:
If you are experiencing a spinal injury, it may be best to avoid Cobra Pose as it puts pressure through the spine. Enter the pose with awareness and consider coming into Baby Cobra Pose if that serves you better.
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