A very common posture of Hatha yoga is called the cobra pose or Bhujangasana in Sanskrit. It is derived from the words Bhujanga for snake and Asana for pose. It is a basic yoga pose that is used in almost all different types of yoga. It is done by lying flat on the stomach and placing the hands palms flat on the floor in alignment with the shoulder. Then without lifting the abdomen, the head and chest are raised, arching the spine with a deep inhalation. The pose is held for a few seconds before lowering the body while exhaling at the same time. It is important to gain maximum stretching of the body from this pose to reap the complete benefits.
Stretches the shoulders, arms, chest and abdominal muscles: As this pose requires the lifting of the body on the arms, it provides a good stretching workout for the upper body muscles including the shoulders, arms and chest. In addition, as the body is stretched to achieve the cobra pose, it also stretches the abdominal muscles and tones them.
Strengthens the spine and the buttocks: The backward arching of the spine helps to improve its flexibility and strengthens it along with toning the buttocks.
Stimulates the organs in the stomach cavity: When the abdominal muscles are stretched, they stimulate all the internal organs. This in turn improves the digestion and workings of the other internal organs such as spleen, liver and gall bladder.
Relieves stress: Yoga for the purposes of reducing tension places a lot of emphasis on the cobra pose as it is very helpful in providing relaxation of the muscles which in turns eliminates stress.
Reduces sciatic pain: Sciatic pain is caused when the sciatic nerves are pinched or pressed due to some reason. The cobra pose along with stretching the spine and strengthening it also relaxes the sciatic nerves. This is important to reduce or eliminate the sciatic pain.
Improves asthma: As the lungs and chest cavity is expanded during the practice of yoga, this posture is very therapeutic for people suffering from asthma. Regular practice over a period of time has been known to eliminate the use of medication for asthma patients.
In addition to the general benefits of the Cobra pose, it has a number of advantages for women in particular. As it strengthens and stimulates the internal organs, it is beneficial to women in terms of:
Tones Ovaries and Uterus: Cobra pose is very beneficial for women who suffer from ovarian and uterine problems. It tones and regulates their functions thus relieving problems such as amenorrhea, dysmenorrheal and other malfunctions of the ovaries and uterus.
Helpful in Childbirth: Prolonged practice of the cobra pose is very useful in easing the pains associated with childbirth by strengthening the uterus.
Reduces menstruation problems: As it strengthens the ovaries and uterus, it immensely improves pain and problems related to the menstrual cycle.
The Cobra pose can do wonders for a yogi in terms of improving a number of physical aspects and is also known to improve the Kundalini.