Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) – Benefits and How to Do it
Bhujangasana is the eighth of the twelve asanas of the surya namaskar (sun salutation). A pose that is meant to open up your mind and ease anxiety; it is referred to as the cobra pose because of the posture that makes one resemble a cobra with the hood raised. Bhujanga literally translates to ‘cobra’, while asana means ‘pose’.
What is Bhujangasana?
Bhujangasana is a yoga pose that is designed to strengthen the muscles in your shoulders, chest, and back. It primarily targets and strengthens your vertebral column. The purpose of the cobra asana is to fix posture problems and to make sure you get smoother bowel movements, thus relieving back pain and constipation.
Benefits of Bhujangasana
The following are the cobra pose benefits for men and women alike:
1. Improves Your Flexibility
One of the biggest advantages of bhujangasana is that it really improves your flexibility.
2. Boosts Your Mood
If you’ve been feeling the blues, doing bhujangasana every day will make you feel better. It helps eliminate depression, relieves stress, and most importantly, leaves you in a good mood when you’re done with it for the day.
3. Regulates Your Digestion
Since the pose gently targets your abdominal muscles, it helps to not only tone it up but also makes sure that your kidneys and internal organs feel rejuvenated. The result is that your gastrointestinal function gets a boost.
4. Enhances Strength
Besides flexibility, the posture also improves the strength of your vertebral column and arches your spine. The muscles of the back stretch better, and it ends up toning other areas in your body like the shoulder, glutes, and legs too.
5. Lowers Your Risk of Getting an Injury
If your hip flexors aren’t strong enough, you might get injured when going on intense runs or cycling sessions. The cobra pose strengthens the muscles in that area and boosts blood circulation, keeping you safe throughout your workouts and outdoor adventures.
6. Activates Your Kundalini
The kundalini essentially connects you to your higher consciousness and the cobra pose is the gateway to that. When you awaken your kundalini, you get an improved spiritual awareness and achieve self-realisation. You become able to see the world as it is and the physical benefits of awakening it translates to no more kidney stones, liver or gall bladder problems, etc.
7. Balances Your Chakras
When you practice the cobra pose every day, it balances your chakras and takes you higher on the path to spiritual enlightenment. One of the major benefits of that is optimal well-being – spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
8. Relieves Sciatica
For those who suffer from sciatica, the good news is that the cobra pose will naturally provide you with pain relief. It relieves discomfort in the spine and gently stretches your spinal muscles, thus loosening them up.
9. Provides Asthma Relief
Since the cobra yoga pose opens up your chest muscles and lungs, you end up breathing more clearly due to the passages clearing up. This provides you relief from asthma and fixes breathing problems.
10. Regulates Emotions
The biggest benefit of this pose is not just the physical and spiritual benefits it brings, but the emotional ones mainly. You feel more centred, balanced, and calm when you do this every day. You get relief from your anxiety, and any negative emotions are slowly flushed out, leaving you feeling lighter, happier, and more positive.
How to Do Bhujangasana?
If you’re wondering how to do a cobra stretch, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Here are bhujangasana steps:
- With your head facing the floor, make sure you are lying down flat on your stomach with your toes against the floor.
- Press your legs into the yoga mat and gently raise your head, arching your back to make a smooth but nice curve.
- Make sure your arms are spread out on the floor, with the elbows near the rib cage.
- Inhale as you go up and make sure the space between your navel and the floor is no more than 5 centimetres. Look forward and hold this position for about 15 to 30 seconds.
- Slowly exhale and return to your original position while releasing the pose gently.
Safety Tips to Consider
Whether it’s your first time doing the bhujangasana or you’re currently undergoing physical therapy/rehab and want to incorporate this pose into your routine, here are some safety tips to consider:
- If you’re a beginner, do not try attempting the pose in one go. Break it up by going up to a height where your back and legs are comfortable. You can release your hands from the floor for a few moments to give a stretch to your spinal column that way. Once you get better at this initial position, you can slowly work your way towards making a nice curve on your back.
- A piece of key bhujangasana information to be aware of is to engage your abdominal muscles when performing this pose. Ensure that your lower back is stable, and your legs feel supported against the weight of your yoga mat.
- Visualise your legs as being akin to a snake’s tail when learning how to do cobra stretch. This will help you get the form right and reduce your risk of injury.
- Another bhujangasana precaution to take note of is to release the pose gently when you’re done. Take it slow when going up and coming down. Remember, it is meant to relax and rejuvenate you while opening up your back and chest muscles at the same time.
Here are some frequently asked questions about bhujangasana and what you need to know about it.
1. Who Should Avoid Doing Bhujangasana?
You shouldn’t do the bhujangasana if you are:
- Pregnant – since the pose exerts pressure on the abdomen and may harm the fetus.
- Prone to Medical Conditions – like stomach ulcers, hernia, etc.
- In Rehab for Spinal Trauma/Injury – If you’ve recently undergone any surgical procedures for the spine or have any existing injuries which you’re recovering from, you should ideally avoid doing this pose. It’s because it could place pressure on your back by pulling the muscles and make your injuries worse when done wrong.
2. Are There Any Variations of Cobra Pose?
Yes, there is an advanced variation of the cobra pose known as the bheku bhujangasana
3. How to Perform the Advanced Bhujangasana?
To perform the advanced bhujangasana, perform the regular pose at first. Then, bend your knees and cross your feet over your thighs. This will stretch your back muscles even more.
4. Does Bhujangasana Increase Height?
Bhujangasana will increase your height by a few inches when you first start practising it. This is because it will fix your posture and eliminate rounded shoulders, both of which are responsible for slouching and making you look short. So yes, the posture is very good for increasing your height naturally.
And that’s it. Just keep our tips in mind and take your time. You’ll eventually get the form and pose right. If you have any medical conditions, always consult your doctor and practice under the guidance of a certified yoga practitioner just to be safe.