Cobra Pose, or Bhujangasana, is a yoga backbend that helps prep your body for deeper backbends that may happen later in your exercise. 

This is a great way to give your back a little bit of a workout and flexibility exercise!

Like a Serpent 

The entire idea behind cobra pose has a lot to do with its name. The position of the pose keeps the shoulders and chest up while the back gently bends, much like that of a snake. 

This pose isn’t just popular in today’s yoga practice, either. In fact, it was originally a hatha yoga pose described in the 17th century text “Gheranda Samhita.” 

Embodying the Cobra

This particular pose can be entered from both downward dog or a standard prone position on the floor. 

There are several parts of the body that are involved in the exercise, from the spine to the glutes, making it great not just for strengthening, but for overall flexibility. 

Getting to Cobra Pose

This great back exercise is one that can really help with your overall stability. 

To perform this yoga pose: 

  • Make sure you have a yoga mat on hand. 
  • Perform some light stretching before beginning your exercise. 
  • Come from either downward facing dog or a prone position on the floor. 

Working on the Pose

If you’re ready to get into position: 

  1. Put your hands on the mat underneath your shoulders. 
  2. Press down through your pubic bone, spreading your toes. 
  3. Lift your head and chest off of the mat and inhale. Keep your shoulders back. 
  4. Straighten your arms, lifting yourself further. Don’t push, necessarily; rather, feel the backbend as an extension of your spine. 
  5. Continue pressing your shoulder blades together, opening up your heart. Keep this pose for 30 seconds – 1 minute. 
  6. Release, slowly lowering your chest and head. Exhale to relax your body. 
  7. Repeat steps 2-6 for the desired amount of repetitions within your practice. 

Relief for the Lower Back 

One of the most notable benefits of cobra pose has to do with relieving lower back pain. If you’re prone to lower back pain, cobra pose can present some relief. 

Further, cobra pose can help with anxiety or stress relief, as it invites you to open your heart and deepen your breathing.

Determining How Far to Backbend

If you’re just beginning, it’s important to find a height and bend that’s comfortable for you. After all, too much strain can actually be bad for your back, rather than helping it. 

If you can’t find a comfortable position, you can use a chair or a block to modify the pose and lessen the backbend.  

However, if you feel that you’re at a more advanced level, try using your lower back and glutes to lift your upper body. This will provide a more intense bend. 

Focusing on the Backbone of your Workout

Cobra pose is a great way to bring some back strengthening and flexibility techniques into your daily routine. Whether you’re just beginning your yoga flow or are a more advanced individual, you’ll find that this move is great to incorporate in all kinds of workouts.

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