Cobra pose, Bhujangasana, is a stretching pose and is part of the downward dog sequence. This pose strengthens the vertebral column and is used to stretch the abdomen, shoulder, thorax and the lungs. This is one of the beginning poses into a back bend and helps to prepare the body for deeper backbends such as lotus and bow pose. This pose is also used as an alternative to Upward Facing dog. You can do either when doing the sun salutation sequence.
The Cobra pose is known for its ability to increase the body’s flexibility of the spine. When doing cobra it opens the chest while strengthening the shoulders and spine. There are many benefits to doing Cobra. It helps to open the lungs, which can be helpful for people who suffer from asthma. This pose also stimulates various abdominal organs which improves digestion. The cobra pose also tones and firms the shoulders, abdomen, and the buttocks. It helps to ease the pain of sciatica, reduce stress and fatigue.
To do the cobra pose lay flat on your mat, keeping your legs straight behind you with the top of your feet lying flat on the mat. Place your hands under your shoulders aligned with your chest, keeping your arms close to the body. Inhale and gently lift your upper body off the mat, make sure to press down on the mat from you pelvis to the tops of your feet. Draw your shoulders back and your push your heard forward, bringing your gaze to the ceiling as much as possible (for those with neck pain, you can keep your gaze to the mat)