BHUJAṄGĀSANA (THE COBRA POSE)
- Lie on your belly with the chin on the floor
- Keep the legs together and press the tops of the feet into the floor
- Place the hands under the shoulders and the elbows into the ribcage
- Inhale and lift your head and chest up
- Keep the elbows slightly bent
- Look up as you arch your spine
- Stay for 5 breaths
Bhujaṅgāsana, also known as the cobra, is a deep back bend and helps to create flexibility of the spine. It is different from urdhva mukha svasana where the arms are straight and the body is lifted off the floor. In bhujaṅgāsana, the lower part of the body stays connected to the floor and the elbows maintain a slight bend.
Start by lying down on your abdomen. Place the chin on the mat and bring the hands flat under the shoulders, palms facing down. Spread the fingers and tuck the elbows into the ribcage from either side. Bring your legs together, squeeze the buttocks and press the tops of the feet down into the mat. On an inhalation, lift your head and chest up and look up. Lift up as much as possible but keep the pelvis on the floor and the elbows slightly bent. Arch your spine by creating a convex shape. Now draw the shoulders back by squeezing the shoulder blades together, which opens up the chest. Keep the shoulders away from the ears by drawing them down the back. Keep pressing the palms firmly down into the floor, paying attention to each and every finger pressing down, as you work on arching the back more and more. Make sure that the face and throat are relaxed. Stay in the pose for 5 to 10 breaths and then on an exhalation come down.
As a variation to this posture you can keep the legs apart if you suffer from lower back pain. This will relieve tension from the lower back. There are several variations that can be done with the hands as well. You can bring the hands behind the back and interlock the fingers, drawing the arms up and away from the body as you lift up. Another variation is to bring the hands forward on the mat, and as you lift up into the pose you straighten the arms. This will cause a very deep back bend.
One of the benefits of this posture is that it strengthens the arms, as you are lifting your upper body up through the arms. It also strengthens the back and spine, which help in lifting up the body. It gives a gentle massage to the inner organs as they get compressed on the floor. It is also said to help with constipation.
The contraindications for this pose are back injuries and pregnancy. For back injuries keep the legs apart while doing the pose. If you are pregnant it is recommended to avoid this pose, and do cat and cow instead
- Strengthens the arms
- Strengthens the back
- Massages inner organs
- Back injuries / Pregnancy
- Tones triceps
- Tones gluteus maximus
- Tones hamstrings
- Tones spinal extensors
- Extends spine