Cobra Pose (Bhujaṅgāsana)

Name: Cobra Pose

Sanskrit: Bhujaṅgāsana

Pronunciation: Bhu-jang-aasana

Pose Level: Cobra Pose is among the few postures taught at all levels. For example, beginner, intermediate, and advanced styles of yoga classes.

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Cobra Pose (Bhujaṅgāsana)

Anatomy Involved:

Cobra is categorized as a backbend pose involving arching the spine backward, also called spinal extension. Muscles that stretch in Cobra Pose:

  • ankle, hip, and cervical flexors
  • abdominal and pectoral muscles
  • biceps and brachialis
  • hamstrings, glutes
  • spinal extensors
  • Upper back muscles
  • triceps


  • Cobra pose may help reduce, lower back pain, inflammation, improve sleep and posture.

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Step-by-Step Instructions:

  • Lie flat on your abdomen. Keep your hands at the sides of your thighs, legs apart, toes pointed back, palms directed upward, and forehead resting on the floor;
  • Slowly bend the arms at the elbows, then position your hands on the floor to the shoulder sides, thumbs underneath the armpit;
  • Slowly elevate the head, neck, shoulders, and trunk using back muscles. As your spine arches, lift your shoulder back;
  • Then raise your gaze upward;
  • Gradually press your hands into the mat for additional stretch;
  • Then, gradually lower your body back to the floor;

Pose Modifications:

For example, could the yogi use a supportive pillow, blanket. Is there another variation of the maneuver?

There are four (or more) variations of Cobra pose as follows:

  • The half cobra pose or Ardha Bhujangasana is also known as the Sphinx. This pose increases overall flexibility and may help back stiffness.
  • Cobra posture with raised hand is an excellent buttocks workout.
  • Saral Hasta Bhujangasana, also known as the advanced version of Bhujangasana, in which we elevate the head like a cobra’s hood and support the upper body using arms.
  • Finally, Curve Hands pose called Vakra Hasta Bhujangasana.

For ease, one can modify the cobra pose by following methods:

  • Place a tucked blanket or towel beneath the hips or wrists for additional support.
  • Put both forearms on the ground. This relieves strain on your palms, allowing you to control your movements, and helps maintain a spine straight.
  • Start Cobra Posture from a Plank pose for a more intensive stretch.


  • Individuals who have recently had stomach surgery should avoid this yoga position until their doctor instructs them.
  • Ulcers and hernia patients should avoid doing this asana.
  • Those with neck issues, like spondylitis, and spine-related issues should skip this yoga position.
  • Women during pregnancy may want to avoid this yoga position due to the strain it puts on the lower abdomen and the risk of injury.

Poses Commonly Transitioned too:

Balasana or child pose (pushing upward and backward) or Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog) are two frequent positions to transition into the following cobra pose.

Poses Commonly Transitioned From:

Before starting the cobra pose, you may perform the following as a warm-up:

Cat cows pose with shoulders pressing away, and down the spine, Ustrasana and Kapotasana (deep back arches), and the last is one leg king pigeon pose, which provides an intense backstretch highly necessary for the cobra pose.