How To Do Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

If you are looking to add a powerful pose to your yoga practice, try the Cobra Pose! The Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana in sanskrit, helps strengthen and increase flexibility in your spine, hips, and shoulders. Plus, it’s simple enough for all levels of yogis. So let’s get started on learning how to do this awesome posture!

The posture does not only look graceful when done correctly but it also has some great benefits such as improving core strength and balance. It can even reduce back pain by stretching tight areas along your spine.


Step-by-step Instructions How To Perform Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

  1. Start by lying face down on your mat with your legs extended behind you and the tops of your feet pressing into the mat.
  2. Place your hands on the mat alongside your shoulders, fingers spread wide and pointing forward. Elbows should be close to your body.
  3. Press the tops of your feet and thighs into the mat, engaging your leg muscles.
  4. On an inhale, begin to lift your head, chest, and upper body off the mat, keeping your pelvis and legs grounded. Use your back muscles to lift, rather than relying solely on your hands.
  5. Straighten your arms and lift your chest forward, opening your heart and drawing your shoulder blades together.
  6. Keep your gaze forward or slightly upward, avoiding any strain in your neck.
  7. Engage your core muscles by drawing your navel towards your spine. This helps support and protect your lower back.
  8. If comfortable, you can lift your hands off the mat and bring them alongside your body, palms facing down.
  9. Hold the pose for a few breaths, maintaining a gentle lift through the chest and length through the spine.
  10. To release the pose, slowly lower your chest and head back down to the mat with control, exhaling as you do so.


  • Start with a gentle lift, avoiding any strain or discomfort in your lower back. You can gradually increase the lift as you gain flexibility and strength.
  • Avoid putting excessive pressure on your hands. Instead, use your back muscles to support the pose.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears.
  • Find a comfortable height for your lift, where you feel a mild stretch in the front of your body without any pain.
  • Modify the pose as needed by lifting just a few inches off the mat or by using props such as blocks under your hands for support.
  • The asana stretches the chest, shoulders, and abdomen, while strengthening the back muscles.
  • It can help improve posture, relieve mild back pain, and increase flexibility in the spine.
  • Listen to your body and respect your limitations. Avoid any pain or discomfort, and work within your own range of motion.
  • Seek guidance from a qualified yoga instructor if you have any specific concerns or limitations.

7 Benefits of Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

  1. Spinal Flexibility: It  helps to increase the flexibility and mobility of the spine, promoting a healthy range of motion in the back.
  2. Strengthened Back Muscles: The pose strengthens the muscles of the back, including the erector spinae, which helps to improve posture and support the spine.
  3. Improved Posture: Regular practice can help correct rounded shoulders and promote proper alignment of the spine, leading to improved posture.
  4. Opens the Chest and Shoulders: The gentle backbend helps to open and stretch the chest and shoulders, counteracting the effects of hunching and sitting for long periods.
  5. Increased Lung Capacity: As the chest opens, it allows for deeper and fuller breaths, enhancing lung capacity and oxygenation of the body.
  6. Tones Abdominal Muscles: The pose engages the abdominal muscles, helping to strengthen and tone the core.
  7. Mood Booster: The opening of the chest and heart can have an uplifting effect on mood, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.

Remember that individual experiences may vary, and it’s important to listen to your body and practice within your own limits. If you have any specific concerns or limitations, it’s always a good idea to consult with a qualified yoga instructor.

What Is The Cobra Pose

Bhujangasana, is an intermediate-level asana commonly practiced as part of an Ashtanga Vinyasa sequence. The meaning behind the posture comes from two sources: Hindu mythology and anatomy.

In Hinduism, Lord Vishnu reclined upon a thousand-headed serpent known as Ananta Shesha when he was resting in between cycles of creation and destruction. Anatomically speaking, the asana helps open up our spine by stretching out tight areas around our ribs and lower back. Just like how a real snake would move through its environment!

Now let’s explore some of the potential benefits of doing this powerful posture.

The Benefits Of Cobra Pose

It is an excellent way to experience the mind-body connection. It helps to release stress and tension from your body, while also strengthening your core muscles. When done correctly, this pose helps you become aware of how each part of your body works in harmony with each other.

Holding this pose will help stretch out tightness in the lower back area. It will also increase flexibility in those same areas within just a few minutes! You should also feel an increase in energy levels as well as improved posture. This is because of increased core strength and stability.

As you practice more often, you’ll be able to hold onto this pose longer and reap even greater benefits. Greater benefits include improved digestion and emotional well-being.

Time spent mastering the yoga exercise can truly be rewarding. Now let’s move on to the preparation before starting.


Before starting, it’s important to take some time for proper preparation. Here are 4 steps you should follow:

  1. Physical Preparation – Warm up your body with a few light stretches and dynamic movements such as arm circles or lunges. This will help prepare your muscles for the pose and make sure that you don’t pull anything while in it.
  2. Mental Preparation – Take a few moments to close your eyes, focus on your breath, and clear your mind of any distractions or negative thoughts that might be present. Doing this will help ensure that you have an enjoyable experience during the pose.
  3. Alignment Check – Before going into the pose, check in with yourself and make sure that your spine is nice and straight. So that when you move into cobra, everything lines up properly.
  4. Engage Core Muscles – As you move into the pose, engage your core muscles by tightening them slightly.  This will provide extra support for your back and keep it safe from injury during the posture.

Now that we’ve gone over these preparation steps, let’s look at how to do it step-by-step!

How To Do Cobra Pose / Canva

Modifications For Beginners

If you’re a beginner on the yoga mat, there are some modifications and variations. They can help make the posture more accessible. To begin with, instead of lifting your chest as much as possible, keep it low and focus on gently stretching your spine in all directions.

You might also want to try placing a folded blanket or cushion beneath your pelvis for extra support. This will raise your torso slightly off the floor while still allowing you to maintain proper alignment throughout the pose.

Another modification is to place your hands closer together than usual. This makes it easier to press down into your fingertips. It may also be beneficial if you have tight shoulders or don’t feel comfortable pushing up from the floor yet.

Finally, if you find yourself straining too much in the back muscles when practicing. Simply come out of the pose and rest in the child’s pose before trying again.

With these adjustments, you should soon find becoming more comfortable and enjoyable!

Variations Of Cobra Pose

It is one of the most popular poses in yoga. It can be easily modified to provide a more challenging variation, or it can become easier for those just beginning their practice.

Let’s take a look at some of the different variations you can try!

VariationLevel of DifficultyBenefits
Modified Cobra PoseBeginnerStrengthens core muscles and opens the chest
One-Legged Cobra PoseIntermediateStrengthens arms and shoulders while increasing flexibility in spine and hips
Reverse Cobra PoseAdvancedImproves balance and strengthens back muscles while opening up chest and throat area

The modified poses involve less backbend than the traditional one. This is ideal for beginners who are still building strength in their lower backs. To do this version of the pose, simply come onto all fours with your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.

Lift your head up until you have created an arch in your upper body, but keep your legs firmly on the ground for support. Hold for five breaths before releasing.

For those looking for something slightly more advanced, one-legged cobra may be perfect. Start by lying flat on your stomach with both feet together behind you. With palms facing down, press into them as you lift only one leg off the floor at a time. Alternate between the left and right leg.

Keep each leg straight during the movement. Press through that heel as hard as possible to increase stability throughout the spine. Hold for three breaths per side before slowly lowering yourself down again.

Reverse cobra is suitable for experienced yogis looking to challenge themselves further. Start by coming onto all fours as we did previously with our modified version of the pose.

Then, push away from the floor. Using your hands while tucking your toes under you, allowing gravity to pull you backwards. So that you’re resting on top of your shoulder blades instead of pelvis bones. Here, you are creating an inverted V shape with the body. Rather than the U shape used in regular cobra posture.

Remain here focusing on deep belly breathing if comfortable enough without straining the neck too much. Otherwise, hold the position lightly without engaging neck muscles at all whilst maintaining the same inhalations/exhalations technique as before.

Now that we’ve explored various modifications available when practicing, let’s talk about props that may help enhance the experience even further!

Yoga cobra pose / Canva

Props That May Help While Practicing

Yoga blocks are great for providing support underneath your hands as you move into the asana. They also help keep your hips grounded if needed.

A bolster cushion can be used to add more comfort before beginning. You may place the bolster under your chest or pelvis depending on how open or tight your lower back feels that day.

Finally, a yoga strap can come in handy when practicing. A yoga strap helps deepen the stretch of the arms while keeping them straight at shoulder width apart.

Breathing Techniques For Cobra Pose

When practicing, it’s important to focus on your breathing. This will help you stay focused and energized during the pose.

When coming into the flow, take a deep breath in through your nose. Then exhale out of your mouth as you lift up from the floor. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged throughout the entire movement and keep your attention on your inhales and exhales. Try to maintain this steady rhythm for five breaths before releasing back down to the mat or transitioning into another yoga posture.

It’s also essential to pay attention to how each part of your body is feeling. Check your shoulders, lower back, abdominals, and more. If any discomfort arises due to incorrect alignment or form, modify accordingly so there’s no strain on those areas of the body.

Make sure also that when lifting off the ground with an inhale, don’t over arch in order to protect your spine from hyperextension injuries.

By focusing on proper breathing techniques within our practice we can ensure that our bodies are safely supported in whatever poses we attempt!

Moving forward, let’s look at how we can incorporate it into a sequence.

How To Incorporate Cobra Pose Into A Sequence

When practicing yoga, it’s important to understand how to incorporate it into your sequence. Here are some tips on including this posture in your practice:

  • Before you begin a yoga practice sequence, warm up your body first by doing gentle stretches like Cat/Cow Pose or Child’s Pose. This will ensure that your muscles are ready for deeper stretching exercises.
  • Dynamic Stretches such as Sun Salutations can be used to increase mobility and prepare the body for more advanced poses like.
  • Once warmed up, transition into the pose from other postures like Table Top or Downward Facing Dog Position. Make sure to use proper form while moving through each posture so that you’re getting the most out of every exercise.

By incorporating it into your yoga practice sequence, you’ll be able to reap its many benefits without putting too much strain on your body.

However, there are still a few common mistakes that should be avoided when performing this posture. These will be discussed in the next section below.

Common Mistakes To Avoid In Cobra Pose

When performing, there are some common mistakes to avoid in order to ensure a successful and beneficial yoga experience. Incorrect alignment, poor posture, and inadequate warm-up can all result in an unpleasant or even dangerous outcome.

Wrong AlignmentPoor PostureInadequate Warm-Up
Overextension of Lower SpineTension on Upper Back & ShouldersReduced Flexibility & Potential Injury

Let’s start with incorrect alignment. It is important that your pelvis remains grounded throughout the entire motion of the exercise. This will keep you from overextending your lower spine as well as help support proper core engagement.

Poor posture also has its consequences. Hunching over while performing leads to tension in the upper back and shoulders. This could cause injury if not corrected quickly enough.

Finally, remember to properly warm up before doing any strenuous activity such as this pose. This includes stretching muscles like those found in the chest, abdominals, and hips!


Practicing yoga poses safely is an important part of any practice. When it comes to the sphinx pose, there are certain instances when it should be avoided:

  1. If you have a pre-existing back injury or experience pain in your lower back while doing the pose, avoid attempting this posture.
  2. Pregnant women should also take extra caution and talk to their doctor before trying the pose as it can put pressure on the uterus area which could cause harm to both mother and child.
  3. Anyone suffering from herniated discs or sciatica should not attempt this pose due to its potential for aggravating already existing conditions and increasing discomfort.

It’s important that we respect our bodies by listening to what they need during our practice. If something doesn’t feel right then stop immediately! Allowing yourself time to heal is key in avoiding injury so don’t push through any pain but instead seek medical advice if needed.

Talk to your healthcare provider first, if yoga is suitable for you!

With that being said, let’s move on to home practice tips!

Home Practice Tips For Cobra Pose

Ok, so you’ve decided to try it at home. Here are some helpful tips for a successful home practice!

Tip Explanation 
Make sure your space is comfortable and inviting.Having a dedicated yoga space with good vibes can really help set the tone for practice. Your environment should be calming and stress-free.
Warm up first!Warming up properly will help prepare your body and mind for more challenging postures like the cobra. This can include walking/swinging arms, stretching & mobilizing joints or doing some sun salutations. It all depends on what works best for you.
Check in with yourself often during practice time.Taking breaks, adjusting positions, or listening to your body are all important when practicing at home by yourself. Remember to stay present and mindful throughout each pose. Don’t forget to breathe deeply too!
Have fun and enjoy the journey!Yoga isn’t about perfection; it’s about finding balance between effort and ease as both mental focus and physical relaxation come together perfectly within each posture. So take this opportunity to explore new things while having fun along the way!

How To Cobra Pose / Canva

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Should I Hold Cobra For?

When it comes to holding, there is no one size fits all answer. It depends on your own personal ability and comfort level.

Novice yogis are suggested to hold the pose for 15-30 seconds at first. This allows them to begin building strength and flexibility in their spine while also learning proper technique.

Experienced practitioners can typically increase this duration to 1 minute or more if they feel comfortable doing so.

Will Cobra Pose Help With Back Pain?

Yes, the pose can definitely help with back pain. But it is important to remember that if your back pain is severe or chronic, you should always consult a doctor first before trying any yoga poses.

However, for those who have milder forms of back discomfort, the sphinx pose can be beneficial in strengthening the spine and relieving tension from tight muscles in the lower back.

Is Cobra Pose Suitable For Pregnant Women?

First, ask your doctor, if yoga is good for you. When you’re pregnant, women often have special considerations. Is the sphinx pose suitable for them? The answer is yes, but with some modifications!

It can be a great addition to your prenatal yoga practice. It helps strengthen and open up the chest, which can help make breathing easier during pregnancy. Plus, it stretches out the front of your body as well as your lower back muscles. This kind of stretching can also be beneficial for reducing any tension or pain in those areas.

However, there are certain precautions that need to be taken when doing this pose while pregnant. You’ll want to make sure you aren’t pushing yourself too far. Stay within a comfortable range of motion that doesn’t strain your body.

Is It Okay To Practice The Cobra If I Have A Shoulder Injury?

If you have a shoulder injury, avoid practicing the cobra. Performing the wrong way, could cause further harm due to its range of motion and intensity. For your safety, ask your doctor.

How Often Should I Practice Cobra Pose?

Depending on your level of experience and the intensity at which you practice, this frequency can vary. To get the most out of your yoga cobra routine, it is recommended to find a balance between challenging yourself and taking care of your body.

In general, if you are an experienced yogi who practices regularly, it’s safe for you to add up to three or four sessions per week with the posture in your schedule. However, if you’re just starting out, then two times a week is more than enough.

When practicing for the first time or after not having done so for some time, start slowly with fewer repetitions. Make sure to listen to your body as you increase the intensity gradually over time.

Cobra Yoga Pose / Canva
Cobra Yoga Pose


The Cobra Pose, also known as Bhujangasana, is a yoga posture that offers various benefits for the body and mind. It involves opening the chest and stretching the back muscles. By practicing this pose, you can experience improved posture, increased flexibility, and a release of tension in the upper body.

The cobra begins by lying on your abdomen with your legs extended and the tops of your feet resting on the ground. With your palms flat on the mat and aligned with your shoulders, you gently lift your upper body, extending your arms and straightening your elbows.

This action lifts your head and chest higher, while your shoulder blades draw back and down towards your buttocks.

The pose allows you to stretch the chest, abdomen, and front of the shoulders, creating a gentle backbend that counteracts the effects of sitting and hunching. It also encourages a natural extension of the upper spine and engages the chest muscles, promoting better posture.

There are variations of the Cobra Pose that can be explored as your practice advances. For instance, the Upward-Facing Dog is a more intense variation where the thighs are lifted off the ground while keeping the tops of the feet and palms flat.

While the Cobra Pose has numerous benefits, it’s essential to be mindful of certain contraindications. If you are pregnant or have wrist, shoulder, or back injuries, it is advisable to modify the pose or avoid it altogether. It’s important to listen to your body and not force any movements that cause pain or discomfort.

When practicing the sphinx, always approach it with a sense of mindfulness and respect for your body’s limitations. Focus on your breath and maintain a gentle awareness of your body throughout the practice. This will help you reap the benefits of this pose while reducing the risk of strain or injury.

In summary, this is a yoga posture that opens the chest, stretches the back muscles, and promotes good posture. It offers various benefits for the body and mind when practiced safely and mindfully.

As with any yoga pose, it is important to listen to your body, make necessary modifications, and seek guidance from a qualified instructor if needed.