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
Commence by lying on your belly, extending your legs straight behind you and placing them hip-width apart. Rest the tops of your feet on the floor, and keep your arms alongside your body.
Step 2
Position your hands near your lower ribs, ensuring that your fingers are spread wide. Align your fingertips with your nipples.
Step 3
Maintain alignment by keeping your elbows directly above your wrists, hugging your ribcage. Your fingertips should still be in line with your nipples.
Step 4
Engage your abdominal muscles by gently pulling your navel in and upward towards your spine.
Step 5
While inhaling, maintain the activation of your core as you raise your chest off the ground. Ensure that your lower ribs remain grounded as you firmly press down through your pubic bone, thighs, and the tops of your feet. Your hands should bear minimal weight, as your lower body and core engagement will keep you properly aligned.
Step 6
Draw your shoulders away from your ears, broaden your collarbones, and lift your chest. Initiate the backbend in your thoracic spine, which lies behind your heart. Be cautious not to strain your lower back or excessively arch your spine.
Step 7
Direct your gaze forward or upward, being mindful not to strain your neck.
Step 8
To conclude the pose, gently lower yourself back down to the ground.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions


Top Preparatory Poses

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.