The Cobra

Bhujanga in Sanskrit means Cobra. When this pose is exhibited, the raised head and trunk resemble the raised hood of a cobra. Hence it is called the Bhujangasana.

How to do Bhujangasana

Preparatory Exercise
Relaxing on the abdomen, bring one hand on top of the other to make a pillow for the head. Turning the head to one side, rest the cheek on the hands. Bring the toes together and heels apart. Rest in this position for at least a minute before beginning the Cobra. The same deep abdominal breathing may be practiced in this position as in the Corpse Pose (relaxing on the back).

Coming into the Position

  1. Bring the feet together. Place the forehead on the floor and the hands flat underneath the respective shoulders, palms downward. The fingertips should be in line with the tops of the shoulders and the elbows slightly raised off the ground.
  2. Inhaling, raise first the forehead, bringing the nose to the floor.
  3. Then raise the nose brushing the chin against the ground.
  4. Push the chin forward and slowly roll the up and back, keeping the abdomen on the ground. Visualize the smooth, graceful motion of the snake as you slowly stretch the spine up and back vertebra by vertebra.

Holding the Position
Pushing the chest forwards, arch the head and shoulders back. Elbows remain bent. Do not hunch the shoulders; make sure that they are back and down, away from the ears. Beginners may hold the position for 10 seconds. More advanced people will gradually increase the period in the Asana up to 1 minute.

To come out of the position
Inhale deeply and, keeping the back until last, exhale and slowly roll out of the Cobra. When the chin has come to the floor, bring the nose in and then the forehead. Repeat the Cobra 3-6 times.


Benefits of Kapalabhati

This always increases the bodily heat, destroys all diseases, and by the practice of this posture the Serpant-Goddess (Kundalini) awakens.”  -Gerunda Samhita

  • Bhujangasana is a powerful tonic, particularly useful for women.
  • It gives a backward bend to the spine (posterior curvature).
  • The thoracic region is stretched and the rib cage expanded. The Cobra is therefore effective in combating asthma and other respiratory problems.
  • The deep and superficial muscles of the back are massaged and stretched.
  • The spine receives a powerful backward stretch. Every vertebra is pulled back and given a rich blood supply. The nerves and muscles of the spine are rejuvenated.
  • The spine is kept flexible. Curvature of the spine is relieved.
  • Bhujangasana relieves hunchback, back pain, lumbago and myalgia of the back.
  • The abdomen should be kept on the ground. This increases inter-abdominal pressure. All the abdominal viscera are toned.
  • In women the ovaries and uterus ore toned. It is powerful tonic which helps to relieve many utero-ovarine troubles, menstrual problems, etc.
  • Bhujangasana increases bodily heat and destroys a host of ailments.

Common Mistakes

  1. Elbows straightened
  2. Shoulders hunched and rotated inward.
  3. Abdomen lifted off ground.
  4. Head dropped forward.
  5. Many students start off in an incorrect position with hands in front of the shoulders.
  6. Often people will push up and drop back rather than coming into the position with “rolling ” movement.


  • Head dropping forward
  • Abdomen lifting off the ground
  • Shoulders hunched
  • Elbow straight


  • Chest lifting
  • Elbows slightly bent, drawn into body
  • Shoulders pulled back and down
  • Hips on the ground