Bhujangasana Benefits and Steps to do Cobra Pose

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In today’s day and age, everything is moving almost at the speed of light, and we humans have to keep up with it in order to just even survive. Some of the things we require in order to do so are willpower, self-confidence and strength, which are pretty much the same virtues a Cobra needs to have in order to survive in the wild.

Very often, we tend to naturally lack in one or all of those three things, which slims down our chances of survival in the urban jungle to a great extent. Additionally, more often than not, we start off with a certain amount of all of those virtues and eventually run out of it over time, at which point we all must rejuvenate in order to be capable of taking life head-on once again. Thankfully, there is one particular Yoga asana that can help both such kinds of people. Interestingly, and maybe even fittingly, this yoga posture is known as the Bhujangasana, or the Cobra Pose.

Let's embark on a journey into the depths of this elegant posture, exploring the benefits of Bhujangasana, unraveling a step-by-step guide on how to perform the Cobra Pose, delving into the anatomy of Bhujangasana, addressing important considerations regarding when not to perform the Cobra Pose, and finally, addressing common questions and doubts about Bhujangasana that may arise along the yogic journey.

What is Bhujangasana a.k.a Cobra Pose

Bhujangasana a.k.a cobra pose is a fairly powerful yoga posture which is practised by Yogis that practise Hatha Yoga in order to attain an all-round spiritual and physical growth, since this Yoga asana impacts nearly every little corner of the human body. 

The name itself comes from Sanskrit and has two parts, which are as follows:

Bhujanga: Snake/Serpent/Cobra, and  Asana: Posture

Due to the translation of the asana’s name, it also goes by the name of the Cobra Pose. However, there is a fairly interesting reason behind that name. The yoga posture gets its name from the fact that at the time the student achieves full motion, his/her body shape begins to resemble that of a cobra who has just raised its hood and is getting ready to embark on yet another adventure.

Bhujangasana a.k.a cobra pose has a long history, as is evidenced by the fact that the first descriptions of what came to be known as the Bhujangasana were found in a 17th century Hatha Yoga text book named Gheranda Samhita. Since then, several variations of this pose have been found all over the world, which speaks to its pervasiveness.

What Are The Benefits Of Bhujangasana

To say that the Bhujangasana a.k.a cobra pose comes with a sea of benefits would perhaps be an understatement. This particular yoga posture is a complete pose in more than one sense of the term, as it helps the student achieve almost everything one can attain from Yoga, but in controlled quantities.

Some of the many benefits of the Bhujangasana are:

Bhujangasana Flattens Your Belly: Bhujangasana has also helped several practitioners flatten their bellies to a great extent with regular practice as one of the main muscle groups that this position targets is the muscles in and around the core. It also helps you burn off those stubborn love handles in time as well.

Bhujangasana Makes You More Confident: Practitioners of Bhujangasana have observed a marked improvement in their self confidence and self-worth levels. One of the reasons for the same is that this asana curbs the stress response caused by secretion of hormones such as cortisol and activates the relaxation response which is triggered by the likes of dopamine. This elevated self-confidence, in turn, opens the door to a better and happier life.

Bhujangasana Improves Your Posture: The human lumbar region, which sits right below the thorax, plays a crucial part in Bhujangasana, which implies that the position also activates the spine to a great extent. The regular elongation that the spine receives from Bhujangasana eventually pays off in the form of a better posture and less fatigue with the passage of time.

Bhujangasana Improves Your Blood Circulation: It is a known fact that the primary key to a healthy and a happy life is a healthy blood circulation, which is something that Bhujangasana helps to achieve. Better blood circulation translates to better overall physical, immune and mental health. Not to mention that the improved blood circulation also allows for more oxygen to reach the brain.

Bhujangasana Makes You A Stronger Person: The Bhujangasana engages almost all of the muscles in the overall body, ranging from neck to arms to all the parts of your one’s back. This, in turn, results in small microtears in the muscle groups, which can be repaired with a nutritious diet. The end result of it all will be a stronger and a more resilient you.

How To Do Bhujangasana a.k.a Cobra Pose 

Although the Bhujangasana a.k.a cobra pose is a fairly powerful pose that comes with a myriad of benefits, it seems like a pose that can be executed very easily on the surface. However, one must not judge a book by its cover, for this pose does require a certain amount of core strength along with a particular degree of breath and body control. If you check those boxes, take a look at the step-by-step guide below in order to be able to execute the Bhujangasana with near perfection.

Bhujangasana Step 1: Lie down on your mat face first. While doing so, ensure that your feet are extended along the ground and are with each other. Additionally, you must ensure that your elbows are coming close to hugging your back and your palms are right next to your chest. Finally, you must make sure that you are touching the ground with your forehead.

Bhujangasana Step 2: Lift your torso with the help of your thorax, which is essentially the midsection of your back. Simultaneously, lift your head in a clockwise manner until it is in alignment with your spine. Once that is achieved, begin to gently and slowly lift yourself with your thorax until you have done so up until the point of your naval. You must execute this part over the course of three counts and additionally ensure that you are looking ahead at all times.

Bhujangasana Step 3: Stay in that position for up to six seconds or as long as you are comfortable.

Bhujangasana Step 4: Come back to your starting position over the course of three counts.

Bhujangasana Step 4: Turn on one side of your body in order to get into a resting pose.

Bhujangasana Step 5: Complete one repetition by coming to the sitting position on the mat with the help of your one arm.

Do the above-mentioned steps for a total of 2-3 times on a daily basis to achieve best results.

When To Practise Bhujangasana a.k.a Cobra Pose

Ideally, one should practise Bhujangasana a.k.a cobra pose in the morning on an empty stomach and bowel, which is a practice that is followed to avoid unnecessary breaks in the middle of a session. Additionally, it is recommended that one must do stretching exercises for their back, neck, shoulders and arms as the Bhujangasana engages all of those muscles and one certainly wants to avoid any kind of unnecessary pulling while doing the pose.

Bhujangasana Contraindications

As is true in the case of many yoga postures, there are certain circumstances under which you simply avoid doing the Bhujangasana or at least get a second opinion regarding practising the same from either a Yoga instructor or a general physician. Those cases are as follows:

  • If you have recently sustained injuries on any part of your upper or lower body, and especially in the abdominal area, you must avoid performing the Bhujangasana. You must only proceed when your doctor says it is safe for you to do so.
  • You must also stay away from Bhujangasana if you are in the later stages of your pregnancy.
  • Refrain from Bhujangasana if you have neck issues or Spondylitis.
  • If you have severe back issues, stay clear of Bhujangasana.
  • Any injuries around the arm area should also be taken into consideration while contemplating performing the Bhujangasana.

Anatomy of Bhujangasana a.k.a Cobra Pose

Bhujangasana a.k.a cobra pose works its magic starting from the top of your body all the way to your middle section and even on the lower end of your body to an extent.

While in the starting position, when you press your elbows hugging your body, you are already activating a set of arm muscles as well as portions of your abdomen, obliques and deltoids, which are the back muscles. At some point, you are essentially contracting your frame to cause small micro-tears in for a stronger back and a wider frame. This is when you also contract your shoulder blades to a visible degree.

When you begin to lift your torso with your back, there is a ripple effect of expanding and contracting sensations across your upper body. It starts with the cervical region of your spine, which lies in the upper half, and then the thorax, which lies in the middle and then lumbar, which is about 60-65% of the upper body length away from the top.

These sensations tell you that the yoga asana is having its effect on all your major muscle groups such as deltoids, the trapezius, the obliques and the abdomen.

While retreating to the original position, you will feel that all of the tension which was built up is beginning to go away, allowing the body to get into a relaxed state.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bhujangasana

Why Is It Called Bhujangasana

The name Bhujangasana, which comes from Sanskrit, roughly translates to the phrase “The Cobra Pose”. The pose has been named as such since the student’s shape begins to resemble that of a cobra that has raised its hood at a particular point.

The name Bhujangasana itself can be broken down into two parts as follows:

Bhujanga: Snake/Cobra/Serpent

Asana: Pose

What Are The Techniques Of Bhujangasana

Some of the alternative techniques of Bhujangasana are as follows:

The Baby Cobra Pose: This is a decent entry-level cobra pose variation which is usually practised by people with back problems or those who believe that the standard cobra pose is a too intense to start with. In this variation, the student only lifts their upper body half way up and keeps his/her head down at all times.

The Half Cobra Pose: In this case, the student lifts his/her body only half way up, much like in the case of the baby cobra pose, but the student in question also lifts his/her head just like one would while performing the standard cobra pose. It is also known as the Sphinx pose.

Cobra Pose With Bent Elbows: Some people tend to find it easier to perform the cobra pose with bent elbows, so the position allows for the same as it provides an additional degree of support to the upper body.

Cobra Pose With Widened Hands: This variation directly affects the chest area as it requires the student to widen the distance between their arms. Due to the same, this variation also allows for the opening of several pathways in the student’s chest cavity.

Cobra Pose Against A Wall: This is your standard cobra pose, except this pose is performed against a wall for extra support.

How Can One Get Better At Bhujangasana

Simply put, one can only get better at Bhujangasana with practice and experimentation with its several variations. If one would like to revise the technique of performing the Bhujangasana, they can always come back to BalanceGurus for a quick recap.

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