Bhujangasana (The Cobra Pose)
Bhujangasana or The Cobra pose is a basic Hatha yoga pose. It is often practised either on its own or as a part of the sequence of yoga postures in Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar and Padma Sadhana. Bhujangasana or the Cobra Pose holds integrated benefits for the body, mind, and soul.
In this article on Bhujangasana Benefits, along with the benefits of the cobra pose, you will come to know the proper steps to practice bhujangasana with appropriate bhujangasana images and also its precautions.
Even Though having lots of yoga poses available, but few of them gain more popularity among busy individuals because of their unbelievable fitness results.
While speaking about Bhujangasana, those having a good hold on Indian Languages notably Sanskrit and Hindi, after hearing or listening to the word Bhujanga, a big Cobra with the open hood completely ready to attack comes in mind.
Although often distinguish as dangerous or evil, snakes also have a rich history of Power, Energy, and Worship. Especially in Indian Tradition, people worship snakes (particularly ‘Cobra’) along with Deity or God.
In the yogic tradition, the snake is always symbolized as Kundalini rests coiled at the base of the spine. By awakening this snake (means awakening the Kundalini), we elevate our body’s energy and create a pathway towards enlightenment.
As a cobra forces his concentration and energy towards the hood similarly, we should also elevate our Energy (Kundalini Energy) from the base of our spine to the top of the head.
What does Bhujangasana mean?
The composite word Bhujangasana (भुजङ्गासन) is derived from the combination of two Sanskriti words “bhujanga (भुजङ्ग)” and “asana (आसन)“. Here ‘bhujanga‘ means “snake” or “(especially) Cobra” and ‘asana‘ is referred to as “posture” or “seat”. So essentially Bhujangasana is a Posture of snake or cobra. Due to this in English, Bhujangasana is termed as ‘The Cobra Pose‘.
Also, Bhujangasana is the last stage when the cobra is entirely ready to attack its enemy or prey by effectively raising its hood. For this reason, this asana is otherwise known as cobra pose.
Bhujangasana is pronounced as BHU-jung-AAHS-uh-nuh.
Bhujangasana or The Cobra pose is described in the 17th-century hatha yoga text Gheranda Samhita.
In Gheranda Samhita in Chapter No. 2, Mantra No. 42 and 43 Bhujangasana is described as follows:
करतलाभ्यां धरां धृत्वा उर्ध्वशीर्ष फणीव हि।।
देहाग्निवर्धते नित्यं सर्वरोगविनाशनम्।
जागर्ति भुजगी देवी भुजंगासनसाधनात्।।
–Gherand Samhita 2.42-43
Let the body, from the navel downwards to the toes, touch the ground, place the palms on the ground, raise the head (the upper portion of the body) like a serpent (or Cobra). This asana or posture is called Bhujangasana or the cobra pose or Serpent-Posture. This always raises the bodily heat, eradicates all diseases, and by the practice of this posture the serpent-goddess (the kundalini force) awakes.
The Science of Bhujangasana
The importance of absolutely understanding the various yogic techniques before practicing them can’t be overestimated. One should have intensive information on the yogic discipline, both practically and theoretically, to grasp the mechanisms being applied.
Cobra Pose or Serpent posture functions as a wonderful backbend posture (Asana) that helps to strengthen and tone the spine so creating it additional flexible. This additionally helps to form the reproductive and digestive systems extremely efficient.
Let see Study on Bhujanagasana by Dr. M.V. Bhole of the Division of Scientific Research, Kaivalyadhama SMYM Samiti, Lonavala (India).*
He has researched numerous aspects of bhujangasana and reported his findings to the first Conference on the Applications of Yoga in Rehabilitation therapy held in Czechoslovakia, 21-23 June 1978.
Dr. Bhole chose twelve healthy male volunteers aged twenty-five to thirty years. They were trained in bhujangasana with entirely different modes of respiration, and different yogic routines, for four months before the experiment began.
Then a thin rubber balloon was engulfed and inflated within the abdomen, thus as to measure the intragastric pressures. Measurements of this pressure were then measured while using varied breathing patterns.
The results showed that before the posture was performed, the mean pressure was roughly 2.75 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Once the asana was performed, the subsequent readings were noted:
- With deep inhalation – app. 12 mm Hg
- With deep exhalation – app. minus 2 millimeters of mercury
- With normal respiration – app. 4.75 mm Hg.
- With normal inspiration – app. 6.88 mm hg
- With normal expiration – app. 0.83 mm Hg
- With deep breathing throughout – app.. 11.4 mm Hg.
When sarpasana (serpent posture) was performed (bhujangasana, however, with the hands held behind the back), the readings ranged from 20.2 millimeters of mercury on deep inhalation to 1.44 mm hg on deep expiration.
The author says that,
“It is conceivable to look at positive pressure developing within the abdomen because the individual is assuming a position of hyper-extension of the spine against the force of gravity. However, it’s stunning to find sub-atmospheric pressures developing during this asana with certain modes of respiration.”
He also states that as a result of the asanas are maintained for a few times. Therefore the body musculature is relaxed, and the pressures can act on the body in a different way to different varieties of exercise.
*Reference: M.V. Bhole, “Importance of Scientific Research in Yoga: Intragastric Pressure Changes in ‘Bhujangasana’ with Different Modes of Breathing”. ‘Abstrakty’, reprints of the First Conference on the Applications of Yoga in Rehabilitation Therapy, 21-23 June 1978, Czechoslovakia.
Bhujangasana is additionally an excellent exercise that helps to open up the energy chakras. Bhujangasana helps to figure on four out of seven chakras, namely, the Svadhisthana Chakra, the Manipura Chakra, the Anahata Chakra, and also the Visuddhi Chakra.
Practicing Bhujangasana with opened eyes will facilitate to enhance vision. As you look upwards while performing the posture, it stretches and stimulates your optical nerves, therefore, serving to improve vision.
Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana not only develop the flexibility and strength of the entire vertebral column but also improves the circulation of the spinal fluid.
How to do Bhujangasana? (Bhujangasana Steps with Images)
Step-by-step instruction to perform Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana Steps):
First and foremost, Step while performing yoga or any yoga asana is to relax and calm the mind. So sit in sukhasana or any comfortable meditative posture and close your eyes and take three deep breaths.
After relaxing the mind start with Makarasana (Crocodile pose).
To start the pose, begin with Makarasana lie flat on your stomach and place your forehead on the back of the hand or dorsum, as shown in the Makarasana image. And also ensure that your feet and toes are touching each other.
Keep the top of your feet pressing against the ground or floor.
Now move your hands to the front and place your palms on the floor underneath your shoulders.
Draw your shoulder blades back & down and also ensure that your hands are parallel to your torso keeping your elbows close to your body.
Try to maintain this throughout the pose.
Now placing your body’s weight on your palms, while inhaling start lifting your head, chest, and abdomen off the ground while keeping your navel close to the ground or raise the torso till your navel.
Be mindful of opening the chest; you need to arch your neck backward in an attempt to make a replica of the cobra with the raised hood.
Try to give an excellent stretch to your spine while keeping your head back and looking up.
But make sure that your shoulders are relaxed, and they are away from your ears.
Now you are in the Bhujangasana or The Cobra Pose
Hold the Bhujangasana or Sarpasana for about 20 to 30 seconds while breathing normally.
Feel your stomach, thighs, and feets pressed against the floor.
Feel an excellent stretch to your spine. With regular practice, you should be able to hold the asana for up to 1 to 2 minutes.
Repeat the pose 2-3 times.
Now with exhalation slowly bring your head, chest, and abdomen back to the ground at starting position.
Rest on the floor in Makarsana (Crocodile pose) for a few breaths and then enjoy Balasana (Child’s Pose) as a gentle counterpose.
Bhjangasana Benefits or Benefits of Cobra Pose
Bhujangasana or the Cobra Pose holds holistic benefits for the body, mind, and soul.
It is an excellent pose for strengthening the spine along with many other benefits such as alleviating constipation, stimulating appetite, and massaging abdominal organs.
The Cobra Pose is also known for beauty, curing sexual problems, and effective in weight loss. The benefits of the cobra pose are incredibly rejuvenating.
Now let’s see some of the surprising and significant benefits of the Bhujangasana or The Cobra pose,
Physical Benefits of Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose
- Stretches muscles present in the shoulders, chest, and abdomen and strengthens the arms and shoulders.
- It gives deep backbend to the spine that increases its Strength and Flexibility.
- It also gives the lungs, shoulders, chest, and abdomen a good stretch.
- It opens the chest and helps to clear the passages of the heart and lungs.
- Practicing Bhujangasana with opened eyes will facilitate to enhance vision. Thus it helps to Improve Eyesight.
- The Cobra Pose helps to prevent thyroid problems.
- It stimulates organs in the abdomen, like the kidneys.
- Improves menstrual irregularities in Womens.
- It also tones the organs that lie in the lower abdomen i.e., it firms and tones the buttocks.
- Decreases stiffness of the lower back and treats back pain.
- It also soothes Sciatic Pain.
- It helps to ease symptoms of asthma.
- It stimulates the digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems.
- Also, it enhances the digestion process.
- Cobra pose is also beneficial to some Sexual disorders.
- It works excellent to relieve stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
- It helps with the problem of the Slipped disc.
- Also Alleviates rheumatism.
- It helps to regulate metabolism, thus balancing the weight and reduces belly fat.
- Improves circulation of blood and oxygen, especially throughout the spinal and pelvic regions. It also improves the circulation of the spinal fluid.
Energetic Benefits or Spiritual Benefits of The Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana
- Bhujangasana enhances the energy level of the body.
- Body, as well as Mind, get energized.
- Gherand Samhita states that Bhujangasana increases body heat, destroys disease, and awakens Kundalini.
- Bhujangasana works on multiple nerve centres ( Chakras) in the body: Swadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, and Vishudhi chakras.
- It balances your chakras and takes you higher on the path to spiritual enlightenment.
- The significant benefit of that Cobra Pose is optimal well-being – spiritually, emotionally as well as physically.
Like other Yoga Asanas, Bhujangasana also has many benefits. Still, there are some contradictions and conditions in which practicing Cobra posture or Bhujangasana is not recommended. Let us know what precautions should be taken by the person while practicing Bhujangasan. So let’s see the Bhujangasana precautions,
- Those suffering from any chronic injury or severe pain in your back should avoid Bhujangasana or consult your doctor first.
- People having an injury in their stomach or any stomach disorders like ulcers should ensure proper guidance before doing Bhujangasana or if discomfort is seen or felt while practicing it should not be done under any circumstances.
- Also, if your stomach has been operated, do not do this posture for at least 3-4 months.
- Someone who has severe asthma should avoid Cobra pose and should start working on various breathing techniques through Pranayama before attempting Bhujangasana or The Cobra Pose.
- If you have a problem with hypo-thyroid, then do this asana after consultation with the doctor or certified Yoga teacher or yoga Practioner.
- People suffering from Hernia should avoid practicing this Bhujangasana.
- In any situation, Pregnant women should not attempt this asana at all.
- It is recommended avoiding practicing cobra posture during the Menstrual cycle or monthly cycle.
- If you have other serious problems, it is better to consult a Yoga expert or therapist before performing Bhujnagasana.
Thus under the supervision of a qualified experienced yoga expert or a good yoga teacher, the above conditions and contradictions can be analyzed and worked at these precautions.
Common Mistakes to avoid!
- Be careful not to force yourself into the pose, attempting for a deeper backbend. Remember, the depth of your backbend doesn’t matter! What matters is that the even distribution of curve and also the ability to breathe smoothly while in the pose.
- You should raise the body up during inhalation and should come out of the posture while exhalation.
- Don’t forget to perform counterpose after doing the Bhujangasana.
- While raising the body up we should ensure that the body is raised only till the navel. If we fully raise our body (Not till navel) then the pose formed will not Bhujangansa it will be Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana). See below compared Bhujangasana Images.
- Bhujangasana or The Cobra pose is a basic Hatha yoga pose.
- Conscientiously understand the Bhujangasana steps mentioned along with Bhujangasana Images.
- Bhujangasana or the Cobra Pose holds holistic benefits for the body, mind, and soul. Like other Yoga Asanas, Bhujangasana also has many benefits. Still, there is some Cobra Pose precaution to consider.
- It is also essential to keep in mind Bhujangasana precautions & benefits while attempting this seemingly simple asana.
Regularly practise this asana and turn this easy, yet powerful asana a part of your daily Yoga regimen.
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