Bhujangasana Cobra Pose, How to do, Benefits, Variants, Side Effects

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Bhujangasana is an Asana which requires the doer to perform the act or pose by taking the form of a cobra. The pose in Bhujangasana is highly revitalizing in which the doer in the asana with a backbend resembles the raised hood of a cobra. It is also the eighth pose of the 12 poses of Surya Namaskara. It is also a part of the sequence of Padma Sadhana. 

Word meaning

Meaning –
Bhujanga = Cobra or Snake
Asana = Pose, Posture

Preparation for Bhujangasana

Bhujangasana requires you to sleep on your tummy to perform this pose. Also it needs a lot of bending and twisting of body to be done. Obviously Bhujangasana should be done on empty stomach. Make sure that your stomach and intestine is empty before performing this asana. To do this, ensure that you have had your meal 4-6 hours before doing the asana. This would help in digesting your food properly and keep you energetic enough to perform this asana. At the same time, do not forget to evacuate your bowel and bladder before taking to the pose.

Early morning is also a preferable time to do the asana since you have kept your stomach and intestine empty at that time. But if you feel you need some energy to do this asana or if you find that it is difficult for you to do it in the morning, do it 4-6 hours after taking food. In case your schedules do not permit you to do this asana in the morning time you can also practice this in the evening.

Method

Method of doing Bhujangasan
Positioning for the Asana

  • Lie flat on your tummy (stomach)
  • Place your upper limbs (hands) on the sides of your body.
  • Place your feet such that their toes touch each other.
  • Now slowly move your hands to the front and bring them to the level of your shoulders. Place your palms on the floor.

Performing and getting to the Bhujangasana pose

  • Gradually transfer the weight of your body on to your palms. Put equal pressure on both palms.
  • While putting your weight on your palms and pressing the floor, gradually inhale and lift your head and trunk off the floor.
  • At this stage, your arms should be bent at your elbows.
  • Slowly arch your neck backward such that the pose looks like a cobra with raised hood (Bhujanga pose). Keep your shoulder blades firm and away from your ears.
  • Press your hips, thighs and feet to the floor.
  • Stay in the Asana for 15-30 seconds approximately. Breathe normally during the process.
  • Press your stomach (tummy) against the floor.
  • Gradually with practice, you will master this asana and will be able to hold yourself in this pose for at least 2 minutes.

Release from the asana and coming back to the point of start

  • Breathing out gently, bring your abdomen, chest and head back to the floor
  • Slowly bring your hands back to the sides
  • Rest your head on the ground and bring your forehead in contact with the floor.
  • Place your hands under your head.
  • Slowly rest your head on one side.
  • Breathe freely.

Advanced pose

Advanced pose (variant of Bhujangasana)
Bheka Bhujangasana is a variant of Bhujangasana. In this pose, the legs are bent at the knee and feet are crossed beneath the thighs. This pose gives more stretch and intensifies the backbend.

Purva Asanas

Purva Asanas (Preparatory Asanas)
Before Bhujangasana, you can do one or more of the below mentioned Asanas –

  • Urdhwa Mukha Swanasana
  • Setu Bandhasana
  • Sarvangasana

Paschat Asanas

Paschat Asanas (Post-Bhujangasana Poses)
After performing Bhujangasana one can perform backbends.

What time should be spent in the pose while doing Cobra pose?
Approximately 15-20 seconds should be spent in the Bhujangasana pose initially. With practice gradually one can graduate to keep himself or herself in that pose for 1-2 minutes.

Health benefits

Health Benefits of Bhujangasana
Below mentioned are the benefits of Bhujangasana –

  • Provides strength and flexibility to the spine (backbone)
  • Provides firmness and strength to butt and butt muscles
  • Good remedy for sciatica
  • Helps in giving a good stretch and strengthens the chest, abdomen, shoulders and lungs.
  • It is said to open up the lungs and heart and improvise their functioning capacity
  • Useful remedy for those suffering from asthma (do not perform this asana during asthma attack)
  • The asana helps in toning up the lower abdomen and the organs of the lower abdomen
  • It helps in regulating and fine-tuning the metabolism in the body
  • Helps in balancing weight by rectifying metabolism
  • It stimulates the urinary, reproductive and digestive organs
  • It releases the stress in your system
  • Improves blood circulation

Easy Cobra Pose

Sulabha / Salamba Bhujangasana: Easy Cobra Pose

Impact on Chakras

Bhujangasana works on the below mentioned Chakras and helps balance them –

  • Swadishtana Chakra
  • Manipura Chakra
  • Anahata Chakra
  • Vishuddha Chakra

When one practices Bhujangasana looking up, with his or her eyes opened it is said to strengthen the vision and optic nerves.

Contraindications and precautions

Who should not do? (Contraindications and precautions for doing Bhujangasana)
Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Bhujangasana –

  • Back injuries
  • Fracture of ribs and wrist
  • Hernia, after surgery for hernia
  • Headaches
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Pregnancy
  • Those who have undergone abdominal surgeries (recent surgeries)

Effect on Doshas

Effect of Bhujangasana on Doshas and their subtypes
Activates and balances the Dosha subtypes in the thorax – By activating and balancing the Udana Vayu, Prana Vayu, Vyana Vayu, Sadhaka Pitta and Avalambaka kapha located in the thorax or chest, Bhujangasana helps in enhancing the functioning capacity of the heart and lungs, enhances circulation of blood, oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body and helps in warding off the respiratory disorders, mainly asthma. The stretch to the thoracic cavity provided by the asana, opening up the lungs and heart, and stimulation of Anahata Chakra by this asana further aids the proper functioning of the organs of respiration and circulation.

Activates and balances the Pachaka Pitta and Samana Vayu – By activating the dosha subtypes located in the stomach (gut), i.e. Pachaka Pitta and Samana Vayu, Bhujangasana aids digestion and fine tunes the metabolism, it stimulates the digestive organs and activates the Manipura Chakra related to proper digestive functions.

Activates and balances the Apana Vayu – By controlling and balancing the Apana Vayu and by stimulating the Swadishtana Chakra, Bhujangasana stimulates urinary and reproductive organs and enhances their performances to optimum levels.

Effect on Dhatus

Effect of Bhujangasana on Dhatus
Provides strength to the Asthi Dhatu – Bhujangasana gives strength to the bones, especially to the vertebrae.

Provides strength to the Mamsa Dhatu – Bhujangasana provides strength and tones up the muscles, especially of those of the abdomen and butt.

Removes excess Meda – Bhujangasana helps in removing the excess fat deposited in the body, especially around the tummy and helps in reducing weight. This is also achieved by the asana’s role in enhancement in agni and setting the metabolism to rhythm.

Just Before Finish
Modern day stress and strain and improper postures always put the back under stress, causing stiffness and pain. Bhujangasana is an excellent asana or pose to strengthen and increase flexibility of your lower back and spine. In this article I have touched upon the details of doing Bhujangasana along with its benefits on body-mind health.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)

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