COBRA POSE – Bhujangasana (boo-jahn-GAHS-uh-na)
In Bhujangasana, the Cobra pose,
we fully embody humility
as we lay ourselves down on the earth,
and reaffirm our kinship with all beings,
including those that crawl directly on the ground.
Yet as we lift ourselves up in a beautiful arc
that opens the heart and raises our sight,
we embrace that divine yearning in all humans
toward a higher reality.
Cobra pose is one of the first asanas children learn and love to practice as they lift up off their bellies and sway and hiss. Bhujanga is Sanskrit for serpent. Adam Bornstein describes this pose beautifully:
“as we practice the pose we can feel the whole body from the tips of the toes to the crown of the head like a cobra rising up in a graceful arc reaching towards the sky.”
This grace and beauty is something to strive for in Cobra pose. Children as
young as 2 are eager to practice this fun pose, which plays an important role in their physical development. In infant and toddler yoga, we teach parents and caregivers “kicking, kicking cobra” to do with their children to help build upper body strength and coordination.
Younger children love to flow from Downward Dog to Cobra to Downward Dog (and stop to smell the flowers along the way) when practicing their Sun Salutation to Linda Lara’s Sun Dance (Salutation). They also enjoy slithering snake races, using only their arms and hands to move.
Stories are popular in my yoga classes, and Cobra makes an appearance, thus is acted out in many imaginative scenarios by the children. Three favorites: The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan K. Mitchell and There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea by Jennifer Ward.
Benefits of Cobra Pose:
- Strengthens the spine, improving posture
- Strengthens the shoulders and arms
- Stretches chest, shoulders and belly muscles
- Increases flexibility
- Stimulates abdominal organs
- Opens heart and lungs, deepening our breathing, increasing oxygen flow
- Firms the buttocks
- Helps relieve stress and fatigue
- Soothes sciatica
- Improves digestion
How To Do Cobra Pos
- Lie on your tummy with your legs straight our behind you like a long snake tail.
- Press your thighs and the top of your feet against the ground.
- Put your hands on the floor next to your shoulders and draw your shoulders blades together down your back.
- Inhale, press into your hands and gently lift your head, neck and shoulders off the ground.
- Take a few deep breaths swaying like a snake if you wish.
- Exhale out “hisssss” and slowly bring lower down to rest.
- Try it again . . .