‘Bhujangasana’, the serpent pose Bhujanga’ means a serpent in Sanskrit. In the ‘Bhujangasana’ one looks like a cobra
Other names: Cobra pose
What is BHUJANGASANA (COBRA POSE)
Literal Meaning: Bhujang means snake or cobra. The shape of this asana is like a raised snake. Bhujangasana picked up Cobra’s action just before he attacked his prey.
We have already discussed Ardha Bhujangasana, which is a preparation for mastering Bhujangasana. If your back is stiff, you should do Ardhya Bhujangasana just before performing Bhujangasana.
Otherwise Bhujangasana alone is sufficient.
How to do Bhujangasana
1. Lie flat on the stomach with the legs straighten the soles of the feet uppermost.
2. Place the palms of the hands flat on the floor below and slightly to one side of the shoulders. the fingers should point forwards and the arms should be bent with the elbows facing backwards.
3. Rest the forehead on the ground. Close the eyes. Relax the whole body, especially the lower back.
4. This is the starting position. Breathe out slowly and deeply.Then as you breathe in raise the body in the way we will describe.
5. Slowly bend your head backwards so that the chin eventually points forwards and the back of the neck is compressed. Feel the stretch of the front part of the neck.
6. Now the arms must be brought into play. Slowly raise the head and shoulders off the ground by progressively straightening the arm.
Feel the flexion of the back roll down the spine starting from the neck region and working towards the lower back; try to feel the flexion of each individual vertebrae throughout the movement.
Remember, it is the arms that execute the movement. Keep the back and legs as relaxed as possible.
Try to keep the navel in contact with the ground; if the navel is raised too high then the end tends to be at the knees and not the back. Continue slowly to arch the back as far as flexibility will allow.
In this position the back of your head should point towards your feet.Your arms may or may not be straight – it depends on the flexibility of your back You will feel tension in the face and will be tempted to open your mouth;
try to relax the facial muscles and keep the mouth closed You will feel a pleasantly painful sensation in lower back; this is a good sign that you are doing the asana correctly.
Hold this final pose for as long as comfortable. On exhalation return to the starting position in the same way that we have just described.but in the opposite order.
The movement should be slow and synchronized with the breath.Remember, at the end of the movement the nose should brush along the floor so that eventually the forehead rests on the ground Relax the whole body.
Breathing sequence/ Time
Inhale as you rise. Perform natural breathing while remaining in a perfect posture for about 10-15 seconds. While coming back to the original position, exhale.
Note: Some students bend the feet of the feet while performing Bhujangasana and some students keep the toes on the back. Both types of asanas are appropriate.
But by stretching the toes of the feet, muscles stretch more. Due to which the seeker gets more benefit. Therefore, the feet should be diluted on the back side.
Final position for beginners
Beginners, especially if they have stiff backs will probably find it difficult to stay in the final position for more than a few seconds.
They should perform the asana as follows:Raise the body while inhaling as already described.
Hold the breath in the final position for a short period of time without strain. Make sure the back and legs are as relaxed as possible.
Then lower the body while exhaling. Repeat This movement a number of times.
Mistakes to avoid
The most common error is to raise the abdomen off the ground. This is wrong for it bends the legs and not the back.
If this is done then the asana fails to give many of its benefits.Often the hands are placed either too far in front of or behind the shoulders.
The position can be adjusted according to the flexibility of your back, but normally the hands should be placed beside the shoulders.Many people let their mouth sag open. Keep the mouth closed but without tensing the facial muscles. Often the head is allowed to drop forwards. This reduces the influence of the asana on the neck region. Hold your head as far back as possible.
Some people tend to treat this asana as though it is one in a series of physical jerks. Amidst gasping and straining all the body muscles together with facial contortions they attempt to force their back torch. This is totally wrong. Relax the body as much as possible.
Awareness and duration
One should be aware of breathing and movement throughout the practice.
Make sure that the breath is synchronized with the movement as this helps to obtain the best possible benefits from the asana.
Be aware also of the back and its relaxation, particularly the lower back. In the final pose be aware of the flexion of the lower back.
Three minutes is a reasonable time to spend performing this asana whether you stay in the final pose or whether you repeat the movement several times.
However, you can use your discretion in choosing a suitable duration of practice.
This asana gives the most benefits if it is preceded or followed by a forward bending asana.
Those people who suffer from peptic ulcers,hernia, intestinal tuberculosis or hyperthyroidism should not do this asana.
If you have another complaint that you think may preclude practice of bhujangasana, seek the guidance of a competent yoga teacher.
- This asana increases the flexibility of the back and massages the abdominal organs.
- Since this asana creates tension in the stomach and spine, it provides elasticity to the body and removes constipation.
- Patients with slip discs must do.
- It gives many other similar benefits. In particular it influences the kidneys and adrenal glands. The kidneys purify our blood. During bhujangasana they are compressed there by removing stagnant blood.
- On resuming the starting position the kidneys are irrigated with a fresh supply of blood. Massage of these important organs is normally difficult for they are comparatively inaccessible.
- Bhujangasana overcomes this difficulty, improves the efficiency of the kidneys and thereby the health of the whole body. The adrenal glands, situated on top of the kidneys, also receive a good massage and so are encouraged to work more efficiently.
- These glands secrete various hormones which have vast repercussions on our mind and body. The secretion of adrenaline which affects our degree of tension relaxation is regulated.
- This helps give our mental and physical constitution more stability. Cortisone is another major hormone secreted by the adrenal glands.
- This has been found to be closely associated with the occurrence of rheumatism.
- Bhujangasana helps to maintain and encourage the correct secretion of this hormone and has been found very useful in alleviating rheumatism.
- Various ailments and general unhealthiness of the body occur through stiffness of the spine. Remember the spine is the major channel which carries all nervous impulses from the brain to the body.
- A stiff spine interferes with this system by impeding nerve connections.Efficient nerves require a good blood supply.If the spine is stiff then the back is not flexed sufficiently to squeeze out stagnant blood.
- Bhujangasana loosens up the spine, remove impure blood from the back region and tone up the nerves. The overall result is better communication between the brain and the rest of the body, leading to increased health.
- This asana massages the organs of the abdomen and pelvis such as the stomach,pancreas, liver, gall bladder and sexual and eliminative organs.
- In particular we recommend it for treating female disorders such as leucorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea and menorrhagia as it notably tones the ovaries and uterus.
- Those people who suffer from a slipped disc or sciatica can also benefit from this asana, but they should be careful.
- Many people suffer from chronic back ache or backache by sitting in one position for a prolonged period of time or by having a generally stiff and unhealthy spine.
- Bhujangasana acts as a useful remedy.The thyroid gland is also regulated. This Has a large part to play in maintaining a healthy body and its optimum condition is essential.
- Bhujangasana expands the chest, which improves one’s breathing habits.