Cobra is a challenging pose for even the bendiest of yogis, OMB breaks-down cobra benefits and gives you tips on how to improve your pose.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Named after the King Cobra, the pose is meant to resemble the snake as it raises to strike.
What makes cobra pose so challenging and beneficial is that you must both overcome the resistance of the connective tissue and muscles in the front side of the body while backbending against gravity.
Stimulates and massages abdominal and reproductive organs
- Relieves back pain
- Increases spinal strength and flexibility
- Improves the function of the large and small intestines, liver, kidney and spleen
- Opens and stretches the heart and lungs
- Improves pigeon chest by opening the rib cage
- Permits maximum expansion of the lungs increasing oxygen intake, therapeutic for asthma
- Improves digestion and elimination
- Improves function of reproductive organs
- Helps relieve lumbago, rheumatism and arthritis of the spine
- Reduces symptoms of gout, herniated disc, sciatica, tennis elbow
- Helps relieve menstrual problems
- Strengthens the immune system and revitalizes the thyroid
- Improves flexibility of hip and shoulder joints
- Soothes sciatica
- Strengthens and firms abdomen, hips, legs, buttocks and arms
- Looking up tones the optic nerve, improving vision
- Helps to regulate blood pressure through compression of the kidneys and renal system
The back relates to the shadow side of ourselves and things we do not want to deal with. Rising from the floor helps us rise against self imposed expectations and manifest abundance.
- Opens heart chackra promoting tenderness
- Balances naval and sex chackras
- works the psychic channels that run through the spine, improving intuition
- traditional texts say it awakens kundalini energy
- Opens the throat chackra helping communication
“The aim of yoga is to strengthen the muscles of the spine and change the position and shape of the vertebra. When this shift occurs, there will be pain. Such is the truth of all alternative therapies.” Rajishree Choudhury
Alignment is everything, here are the most important lines from the dialogue
- Top of the fingers in line with the top of the shoulders, baby fingers in line with the deltoid
- You have one leg like a cobra, don’t open it
- From the side, your elbows should be ” L”, 90 degree angle, like a rectangle
Remember that the goal of cobra is compression and strengthening of the spine. It is important to use your 100% back strength, but also to create the proper alignment to facilitate the benefits of the pose. To do this, most students will need to use the hand strength. Bikram says you CAN use the strength of your hands and arms up to 15%, it is NOT a part of the pose to avoid the use of your hands and arms.
Tips from Craig
- Your eyes should initiate the movement
- Lengthen through your legs
- When your knees are locked properly, the knees will come up off the floor
- Use the arm strength to augment the back strength
- Your elbows should always be in, only the trapezius muscles