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A woman does a cobra pose in a greenhouse surrounded by plants.

The Benefits of Cobra Pose

Cobra pose, also known as Bhujangasana, is a backbend usually practiced at the beginning of a vinyasa yoga class in sun salutations.

There are many cobra pose benefits that make it such a popular pose, and it’s terrific to do first thing in the morning to give you a relaxed but energized start to the day. Cobra pose can be done differently depending on your strength and flexibility levels, so it is accessible to everyone.

This pose will help you open to new experiences as it helps you heal your heart.

Below you will find how to do the pose and what you can expect to get from practicing it each day on your mat!

Check out our daily yoga poses for inspiration as you learn and grow in your yoga practice.

The Benefits of Cobra Pose

Yoga poses are more beneficial when you engage the ujjayi breath, which is slow deep breathing done through the nose with a slight constriction of the back of the throat, giving it a Darth Vader sound.

Think of it like fogging up a mirror with the nose.

Make sure to take slow deep breaths as you do the pose, and you will maximize these benefits. Breathing deeply gives your body more prana to do the pose so your muscles will not fatigue as quickly. Having more oxygen also helps you develop muscles quicker.

Here are some of the many benefits of cobra pose:

  • Strengthens the arms, shoulders, back, legs, and abdomen.
  • It helps open and heal the Heart chakra releasing grief and opening one to self-love.
  • Stretches the chest and spine improving flexibility and releasing the energy stored in the spine.
  • Improves posture by countering the hunched posture of sitting to work at a computer.
  • Improves digestion, respiratory health, cardiovascular health, and circulation.
  • Improves the health of the liver, kidney, and reproductive organs.
  • It brings a renewed sense of optimism and confidence by stimulating the Sacral chakra.

Poses to Warm Up for Cobra Pose

It is best not to start your yoga practice with this pose. Your spine won’t be happy if you go into the full expression of the pose before warming up the muscles, so be sure to follow these steps to ensure it’s enjoyable!

Doing the cat-cow pose is a good way to warm up the body. A great kundalini yoga warmup is done by doing cat-cow with nasal breathing for three minutes, going back and forth between cat and cow pose.

You can also do sun salutations to warm your body up and start out doing low cobra and eventually move into deeper expressions of cobra pose.

Yoga is all about finding your personal edge each day and accepting where your body is. It will help you understand how you are approaching things in your life when you pay attention to how you meet your edge on your mat.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Cobra Pose

woman in cobra yoga pose

When you see a picture of a yoga pose, it is often the full expression of a pose demonstrated by someone with lots of flexibility. Do not judge yourself if you start only doing a very small backbend. It’s more important to listen to your body in backbends than to push too far.

Step 1

Begin by laying on your stomach and bring your legs slightly apart, resting the tops of your feet on the floor.

You might also like: The Benefits of Camel Pose

Step 2

Place your forearms on the floor parallel to each other with your elbows directly under your shoulders and your fingers spread.

Step 3

Bring your chest forward and pull your tailbone towards your feet as you breathe slowly and deeply through the nose.

Step 4

As you breathe, bring the shoulders down away from the ears and energetically pull the forearms towards you without moving them on the mat.

Step 5

Keep your stomach engaged, but your glutes relaxed as you feel a gentle stretch in your mid-spine and press the tops of your feet on the ground.

Step 6

After five slow breath cycles, lower back to the ground and rest, feeling the energy spread from stretching your spine.

How to Deepen Your Cobra Pose

If you had no pain in that position, do it three more times to continue to warm the spine muscles.

Then move on to these next steps:

  1. Still laying on your stomach with legs separated slightly and tops of the feet on the ground, place your hands slightly behind your shoulders with palms facing down.
  2. Engage the stomach to protect the lower back and avoid bending only in the lower back. Breathe in as you slowly engage the back and push into your palms to lift the chest.
  3. Focus on bending the middle back instead of the lower back and pull the shoulders down away from the ears.
  4. Move slowly as you work towards straightening your arms to pay attention to how your back feels. Maybe come up three-quarters of the way a few times for a few breath cycles to continue to loosen up the spine before going all the way to straight arms.
  5. In the pose, keep the tailbone pulling towards the feet, the belly pulling in, and the chest lifting forward and up as you feel the stretch both forward and backward in your body.
  6. Press the toes into the ground and take five breath cycles. Slowly lower back down onto the mat and rest to relax and neutralize the spine.

You may need to work up to being able to straighten your arms over time, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. The real benefits of yoga come from daily practice, and you won’t be able to practice daily if you injure yourself trying to push too far too fast.

Make sure to check out: How to Master the Backbend

How to Modify Your Cobra Pose

For some people, even sitting up on the elbows may be too much to start with. You can work on pressing into your hands with them face down under your shoulders as you engage the back and bring a subtle arch into your back.

It may not feel like you’re doing much, but it will slowly build the spine muscles and help hold you in the pose over time.

If you have a back injury, shoulder injury, are pregnant, or have a headache, it’s best not to practice cobra pose. Remember to listen to your body!

Once you find cobra pose has become easy, you’ll be able to experience some of the more advanced poses such as wheel pose and camel pose much easier, and deep backbends supply you with a lot of free energy.

Related article: 7 Yoga Stretches for Relief After Stretching

Shannon Yrizarry

Shannon Yrizarry

Trusting her intuition has brought Shannon a wealth of gifts and she brings this wisdom to Daily Life … daily! Instead of following the "norms" of career development, Shannon followed her gut. It's led her to some extraordinary places and experiences as a healer, clairvoyant, metaphysical teacher and Kundalini yoga instructor.... Read More

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