Your Complete Guide to the Cobra Pose
Let’s admit it that animals are fitter than us – they don’t eat greasy stuff, they don’t binge on treats and they certainly don’t live sedentary lives. There’s a lot to be learned from animals when it comes to fitness and health and yoga arrived at this conclusion a long time ago.
Complete guide to the cobra pose
Have you noticed that many yoga poses mimic the movement of animals? Like the downward dog, pigeon, cat, crow, or cobra pose. The last one is quite the rage among fitness enthusiasts.
It’s a full-body workout and if you have little time or energy for the gym, do not despair, the cobra pose alone will keep you in shape. Let’s dive into our complete guide to the cobra pose.
What is the Cobra Pose?
While the rest of the world knows it by the name ‘cobra pose’, in the ancient yoga texts, it is called ‘bhujangasana’ (bhujanga means snake and asana means pose).
It is a stretching exercise that is especially helpful for people whose work doesn’t allow them to get much in the way of exercise or who spend considerable portions of the day sitting at a desk.
The pose was inspired by the cobra, it emulates that position when a cobra rears its head and widens its hood as it readies itself to strike.
How should you do the Cobra Pose?
The cobra pose is one of the simplest yet most efficient stretching exercises out there. All you need are a yoga mat, or any cloth material long and wide enough to accommodate the length and girth of your body and comfortable and stretchable clothes that won’t restrict your movement.
Now lie down flat on your stomach. Every inch of your body should be touching the ground.
Relax your arms along your sides. You need to make sure that your thighs are parallel to each other and your elbows should be touching your body.
Your toes must be positioned firmly because they will bear a lot of weight and act as your body’s support.
Now slowly stretch your arms outwards. All the while making sure that the entire length of your legs is pressed flat against the ground. Then place your palms parallel against the floor parallel to your chest. Slowly raise the upper half of your torso.
Make sure your body beneath your abdomen continues to touch the ground and your feet and toes should touch each other. Keep your buttock muscles relaxed and straighten your shoulders. Hold this pose for at least 40 seconds and then gradually lower your upper body till it touches the floor.
Breathe in and out deeply for a few times before you repeat the cycle.
The more you practice, the longer you will be able to maintain this pose. Don’t overdo it, hold the pose for as long as it feels comfortable.
But, don’t exceed 2 minutes or it might lead to waist or lower back pain.
What are the Benefits of the Cobra Pose?
There are quite a few reasons that will convince you that you can’t go wrong with the cobra pose and that you should definitely be making time for it every day.
- It is an excellent stretching exercise. It stretches out your back muscles, shoulder muscles, chest muscles, and abdominal muscles to eliminate stiffness or muscle ache.
- It increases the flexibility of your upper body.
- Your arms and shoulders get stronger.
- Releases happiness hormones which instantly elevate your mood and keep you calm and peaceful all day long.
- If a menstrual irregularity is a thorn in your life, you should definitely be practicing this pose because bhujangasana ensures that your periods start on time. The cobra pose will also eliminate period pain and cramps.
- It stabilizes your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Your metabolic rate increases and stays that way throughout the day.
- It improves the functions of your abdominal organs such as the stomach, kidneys, etc.
- It is an excellent stress buster.
- The cobra pose improves your blood circulation, thereby ensuring that oxygen reaches every corner of your body and keeps all your cells, tissues and muscles working at their peak.
- It can help drain away phlegm when you’ve caught a cold.
- It can help in improving your digestion.
- The cobra pose will give you firm and sculpted buttocks.
- If you have sciatica, this asana will help deal with the pain.
- Belly fat can be reduced by practicing this asana.
- If you suffer from any form of respiratory distress such as asthma, bhujangasana will clear up your passages and ease your breathing.
Can you modify the Cobra Pose?
What is truly remarkable about yoga is that it not only makes you flexible but it is flexible itself. You can modify the cobra pose to suit your fitness goals.
If the regular cobra pose is too basic for you, you can make it a bit more challenging by adding some kettlebells. Just place one on your back as you go through the motions. The additional weight will further expand and stretch both the back and abdominal muscles.
If doing the asana hurts, then give yourself a break. If you have hurt your wrists, bend your elbows slightly to take some weight off your wrists. Remember to do a few wrist-rotating exercises before you begin.
If you are currently suffering a stiff back, then don’t right away raise your torso all the way. Raise yourself up to your chest or upper abdomen and once your back frees up a little, try to do the complete cobra pose.
If your abdomen hurts, you can try adding another blanket to your yoga mat.
If you are living a sedentary life, then do your body and health a favor by practicing the cobra pose every day.
It has plenty of benefits that will stand you in good stead all your life.