Cobra Pose - Bhujangasana

Cobra Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska


In Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), as the name suggests, the body resembles a serpent with its hood raised. This yoga pose is considered a very powerful backward bending yoga pose in Hatha Yoga. Cobra pose comes under the category of ‘lying down on the stomach’ yoga poses.

As this asana is considered powerful like the Cobra snake, a lot of care should be taken while going into the pose and coming out of the pose. Any jerks of the back while going into the pose can cause discomfort to the back and can also cause injury. While releasing too, the body must drop down slowly and not with a jerk.

Cobra Pose is considered a base pose as cobra pose variations can be derived from this pose. Cobra Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Start by lying belly-down. The arms are along side the body and the legs hips distance apart and extended behind you. Tops of the feet are on the earth.
Step 2
Place your hands, with the fingers spread wide next to your lower ribs. Your fingertips should be inline with your nipples.
Step 3
Elbows are directly above your wrists and are hugging the ribcage. Fingertips are inline with your nipples.
Step 4
Engage your belly by gently drawing the navel in and up towards the spine.
Step 5
On an inhale, keep the core engagement as you peel the chest off the earth. Keep your lower ribs on the earth as you firmly root down through the pubic bone, thighs and the tops of the feet. The hands should have almost no weight in them as the lower body and core engagement should keep you in proper alignment.
Step 6
Draw the shoulders away from the ears, broaden the collarbones and shine the heart. The backbend is initiated in the thoracic spine (in the back of your heart). Be mindful not to dump into your lower back or over arch your lower spine.
Step 7
Your gaze is forward or upward but make sure not to crunch the neck.
Step 8
To get out of the posture gently lower yourself back down to the earth

Benefits and Contraindications


Strengthens the spine

Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen

Firms the buttocks

Stimulates abdominal organs

Helps relieve stress and fatigue

Opens the heart and lungs

Soothes sciatica

Therapeutic for asthma

Traditional texts say that Bhujangasana increases body heat, destroys disease, and awakens kundalini.


Back injury

Carpal tunnel syndrome



Photo poses in different angles

Modifications and Props

  • Use a prop. Place a folded blanket or towel under your hips or wrists for extra support.
  • Place your forearms on the floor. This puts less pressure on your palms and will help you control your movement better. That way you can focus more on keeping your spine aligned. (This position’s also called Sphinx Pose.)
  • If you have trouble lifting your torso away from the ground, don’t worry about lifting off. Instead, focus on involving the necessary muscle groups. Make sure you feel your core, hips, and back muscles engaging first, instead of just trying to lift as high away from the ground as you can.
  • If you have a belly, this may be uncomfortable for you. If you have significant issues resting flat on the ground in a prone position on your chest, then I would recommend doing a bridge pose instead.
  • To make this pose easier, you can place your hands on a chair or bench with the feet on the floor.
  • To deepen this backbend, you can bring the hands slightly more forward and straighten the arms.


  • Take your time in this backbend. Only go so far as it feels comfortable. Keep your belly engaged and lower back long. Maintain the connection with your hips on the floor
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and the base of your neck soft
  • Point your elbows backwards rather than out to the sides
  • Use your back muscles to lift your torso off the ground. Putting too much pressure on your hands and wrists can increase of a strain or sprain.
  • Your feet should be at least hip-width apart. This puts less pressure on your lower back.
  • Avoid putting too much pressure on one area of your back. Instead, try to evenly distribute the stretch across your spine.

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Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

In love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. Iana is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) who has completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification by the Yoga Alliance U.S. In addition to that, she is constantly studying and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, biomechanics, and holodynamics.