Stressed out? Sick of that stiff, achy back? Our staff at CNY Healing Arts encourages you to give this asana a try. Bhujangasana, pronounced boo-jang-GAHS-anna, can be significantly useful at relieving discomfort in the muscles of the back, neck and abdomen. Furthermore, a little time spent in cobra pose can go a long way towards alleviating stress, anxiety and even depression. The best part: it’s free!
In Sanskrit, “bhujanga” means serpent or snake and “asana” means pose; hence the English, cobra pose. This invigorating backbend was named such because Bhujangasana reflects the posture of a cobra that has its hood raised. If you would like to practice this pose with the aid a qualified yoga instructor, click here to check out the yoga class schedule for each of our centers, located in Syracuse, Rochester and Albany.
Getting into Cobra Pose:
Start by lying flat on your stomach on a comfortable, level surface, preferably a yoga mat. Make sure your feet are together with the tops of them against the floor. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders and hug your elbows against your rib cage. Close your eyes and inhale slowly, deeply. Feel the stability in your pelvis, thighs and tops of your feet. Imagine them rooted to the ground throughout Bhujangasana. Exhale gradually before opening your eyes. Continue breathing slow and deep.
As you inhale, steadily straighten your arms and lift your chest from the floor. Be mindful as you extend your arms. Do not fully straighten them if this feels uncomfortable. Rather, extend through and deepen your stretch to create a graceful, even arc in your back. Use the stretch in your legs and back, instead of exerting yourself to gain height and risk overarching the spine. Press your tailbone toward your pubis and lift your pubis toward your navel, narrowing your hips. Keep your shoulders broad, but relaxed, with the blades low on your back.
Lift from the top of your sternum, but avoid pushing the front of your ribs forward. Rather, puff your side ribs forward and keep your lower back relaxed. Try to distribute the stretch evenly along your spine. Breathe calmly and hold here for 5 to 10 breaths. As you exhale, gently release your body back to the floor.
Benefits of Cobra Pose:
- Stretches muscles in the shoulders, chest and abdominals
- Decreases stiffness of the lower back
- Strengthens the arms and shoulders
- Increases flexibility
- Improves menstrual irregularities
- Elevates mood
- Firms and tones the buttocks
- Invigorates the heart
- Stimulates organs in the abdomen, like the kidneys
- Relieves stress and fatigue
- Opens the chest and helps to clear the passages of the heart and lungs
- Improves circulation of blood and oxygen, especially throughout the spinal and pelvic regions
- Improves digestion
- Strengthens the spine
- Soothes sciatica
- Helps to ease symptoms of asthma