Bhujangasana is a back-bending pose or asana in yoga that resembles a cobra with a raised hood. It is also known as the ‘cobra pose yoga’ due to this posture and is a part of the Surya Namaskar yoga practice. The Sanskrit term for ‘bhujanga’ is snake or cobra while ‘asana’ means the posture. This exercise aids in opening the chest and stretches the shoulders. It helps in increasing flexibility in your body and helps strengthen the core muscles. It is a great way to tone the abdominal muscles and helps in enhancing your lungs’ capacity. It aids in relieving fatigue and increases your energy levels. It is often practised as a transition to the downward-facing dog asana in Vinyasa Yoga. Before practising this asana, make sure to take a brisk walk to warm up your body. Also, stretch your muscles to avoid practice-related muscle injuries.
Steps involved in Bhujangasana Yoga asana:
The king cobra, as mentioned in Indian myths, glides forward as it lifts its upper body fluidly in an upright position. The bhujangasana pose helps to emulate this cobra pose by curving your spine and keeping your lower pelvic region firm on the ground. Let us now take a closer look at the bhujangasana steps involved in performing this cobra pose exercise.
∙To start the pose, lie down on your stomach. Put your forehead facing downwards on the floor.
∙Try to position your legs straight back with your feet kept hip-distant apart. Try to extend your toes straight back while you press down on the mat with all the ten toenails as you activate your quadriceps.
∙Put your hands on the mat, placed beside your ribs as you spread your fingers and lightly pressing it down on the ground.
∙Now, slowly lift your head, shoulders, and chest as you keep the back of your neck long. Try to focus on lifting your sternum (the flat bone in the middle of your chest) and lift up your chin slowly.
∙Now, straighten your arms slowly and mindfully and emphasize pushing your chest forward. Try to coil your thoracic spine and keep your lower belly well-connected to the mat. This will ensure that the pelvis area remains on the floor.
∙Ensure to straighten your arms such that it allows your shoulders to move away from your ears.
∙Emphasize toning your abdomen muscles to prevent over-arching of the lower back. Try to focus on pushing down with your feet to activate your posterior muscles.
∙Try to move the bottom border of your shoulder blades in. This will help in opening up your chest from behind.
∙Make sure to keep a slight bend in your elbows while performing this asana. This will ensure drawing out of your lower back into your torso.
∙Try to lift up your chin and gaze up to the degree that your neck is aligned to the curve that has been in place with your upper back.
∙Look forward and breathe in steadily while holding it for 5-7 minutes. Exit slowly like the way you had entered this pose. Release your breath as you go back to your initial position.
Bhujangasana benefits are listed below:
∙Bhujangasana yoga helps in lowering any stiffness or pain in the lower back area.
∙It helps in strengthening your arms and shoulders apart from toning up the abdominal muscles.
∙It aids in elevating your overall mood and boosts the energy level.
∙It helps improve posture and helps build confidence.
∙It tones the abdominal muscles, buttocks and stimulates the organs in the abdominal area.
∙It aids in reducing fatigue and stress.
∙It enhances flexibility in your spine.
∙It aids in stretching the chest and abdominal muscles along with the shoulder muscles.
∙It aids in improving digestion and improves blood circulation.
∙It strengthens your biceps, triceps, and deep core muscles.
∙It aids in reducing the problems associated with asthma.
∙It also revitalizes the heart and opens up the chest while improving your lungs capacity
∙It helps in the optimum supply of oxygen and blood throughout the body, especially towards the pelvic and spinal sections.
∙It strengthens the spine and the back muscles.
∙It can help in relieving sciatic nerve pain.
∙It aids in reducing the problems associated with asthma.
∙It helps to recover menstrual-related irregularities in the female body.
The benefits of cobra pose to the human body are numerous. If such yoga asanas are regularly practised, it can yield a holistic improvement in your physical and mental wellbeing. Bhujangasana benefits should be duly considered in order to fully understand this highly beneficial asana.
You can use a prop in case you are not comfortable practising the steps of Bhujangasana yoga asana on the floor. You can use a metal folding chair by placing the back of the chair against a wall. Place your hands on the edge of the chair-seat and try the Bhujangasana yoga pose by stretching your torso upwards and your knees pointed towards the floor. Start by lifting up your head and upper back as you stretch your spine and neck upwards. Try to keep your gaze forward if you feel any strain on your neck. On your way back down, gaze onto the tip of your nose as you follow the earlier steps back to your initial position.
If you are a pregnant woman or someone who has undergone abdominal surgery, kindly avoid the Bhujangasana pose and have a medical consultation with your physician before doing this asana. You can also modify this exercise based on the physical condition of your body. While performing this asana, make sure to keep your pelvis and legs firmly on the floor to allow your upper body to stretch properly. You can ease up your wrist by resting your elbows on the floor. Use a block to ensure a deeper backbend. You can stretch and lift your chest on each inhalation and lowering it back to the floor during exhalation.
Avoid some common mistakes which practising the Bhujangasana asana. Always keep your hands aligned underneath your shoulder blades to bring your shoulders away from your ears. Stretch your arms and keep them straight so as to lock your elbows. You can slightly bend the elbows or point it backwards but not on the sides. Always aim to stretch the upper body by relaxing the chest muscles and not stretching too much of the back muscles. Also, make sure not to extend your neck backwards too much. Always keep your neck aligned to the natural curve of the upper spine.
Safety and Precautions:
Patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or someone having an injury on their spine, back muscles, shoulder muscles, and arms should avoid this asana. You should relax your posture if you feel uncomfortable stretching your back muscles or if you feel any strain on your lower back. Also, pregnant women should avoid such type of exercises. Expert opinion should be taken and extra precaution is to be maintained before taking up the Bhujangasana exercise for someone who had undergone abdominal surgeries.
Bhujangasana procedure is very helpful in strengthening your back muscles and shoulder muscles besides helping to keep a healthy spine. You can practice the traditional Surya Namaskar postures or the cobras pose individually to tone your body and keep your spinal area strong. It is also one of the popular weight-loss yoga asanas being practised by fitness enthusiasts worldwide. Practice it along with Yoga Nidra, which is a form of meditation to help reduce the levels of stress, anxiety and to improve your overall well-being. Gathering bhujangasana information is ideal for beginners who are absolutely new to yoga. Information about bhujangasana is readily available online but you should be careful about the source you are relying on because not all online sources provide correct or complete guidance.