Cobra pose, or bhujangasana (bhujanga – snake), is a deflection in the back while lying on the stomach. The performance of this asana requires special attention, since an incorrectly chosen range of motion with insufficient flexibility can result in back pain. At the same time, proper execution can provide many benefits, especially for those who sit frequently and for long periods.
Why Do Cobra Pose
When performed correctly, the cobra pose provides the following benefits:
- Strengthens the muscles of the arms, body and legs. To maintain the posture, several muscle groups are included in the work at once: the triceps extend the arms in the elbow joints, the serratus muscles stabilize the shoulder blades, the spinal extensors provide a deflection in the back. In addition, in the process of holding the asana, you need to pull in the stomach and tighten the legs, so that the cobra pose will load both the muscles of the body and the back of the thigh.
- Stretches the chest and shoulders and improves posture. Shoulders pushed forward and chest pressed is a classic pose for those who are used to sitting at a computer for a long time, in a car or with a smartphone in their hands. Cobra pose helps correct this and also strengthens the back muscles, which can protect against bad posture in the long run.
- May prevent back pain. A stooped back with a tight chest can cause lower back pain. By doing the right cobra pose, you can remove restrictions, strengthen your abdominal muscles, and prevent lower back pain.
Who should not perform the cobra pose
Cobra pose no advise perform with back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, pregnancy and headache.
If you have lower back problems, before performing the pose, consult with your doctor, carefully read the recommendations for performing, follow them and follow the sensations.
How to do the cobra pose correctly
Lie on the mat on your stomach, straighten your legs and stretch them out. You can connect them or arrange them hip-width apart – both options are allowed.
Pull your knees in so that they come off the floor, press the back of your feet and hips into the mat. Place your palms under your shoulders, point your fingers forward.
In a circular motion, take your shoulders back, lower them and bring your shoulder blades together.
Lift your chest off the floor, point it up and forward. Try to use your hands as little as possible – just to keep the body in the desired position.
Open your chest and lower your shoulders, trying to bend more in the upper back, pull in your stomach and tighten your legs. Keep your neck in a neutral position, do not tilt your head back.
Spend a few breaths in this position, gently lower your chest back to the mat and relax.
What mistakes should be avoided
Many beginners try to bend more in order to achieve the results of experienced yogis. As a result, they make mistakes that can lead to back pain.
Excessive deflection in the lower back
Since the lower spine is more mobile than the thoracic spine, without sufficient flexibility, an attempt to deepen the cobra pose will only come at the expense of the lower back. This can create excessive compression and cause pain.
To avoid this mistake, be sure to tighten your abs and tilt your pelvis back during the backbend. Try to arch your upper back more and don’t go high until you develop flexibility.
The video below shows the low and high versions of the cobra, and both are correct.
So do not chase the height, it is better to pay attention to the form of the exercise and the comfort during its execution.
This mistake is often made by those who are trying to arch their backs strongly by straightening their arms.
Lower your shoulders and bring your shoulder blades together, open your chest and do not try to straighten your arms. Keep your elbows close to your body – do not spread them apart.
Lack of leg tension
It may seem that in the cobra pose, the legs do not work at all – they just lie on the floor. In fact, the hips must be in constant tension so that the legs do not diverge to the sides and provide solid support.
Keep your feet and hips on the floor, pull your knees in, and keep your pubic bone on the surface. Avoid squeezing your buttocks—instead, imagine your hips rotating outward. This will help activate the adductor muscles.
How Often to Do Cobra Pose
You can do Cobra Pose every day – include it in your workout along with other asanas, or do it as part of a post-workout stretch.
Start with 15 seconds of holding and gradually increase the time to 30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times with a little rest between repetitions.
After Cobra Pose, it’s good to do Downward Dog Pose and Child Pose to relieve tension in the back muscles.