Bhujangasana – Cobra pose is probably one of the first yoga poses you will learn when you start stepping on your yoga mat. It’s a fairly easy pose to do. It will strengthen your back muscles, but it has a deep, spiritual meaning as well; if you’re willing to look at it from that side.
Lets look at the anatomical aspects first. Bhujangasana – Cobra can be done with your hands on the floor and without. If you do it with your hands on the floor, you will strengthen the muscles in your lower back. Sitting – or rather hanging – on office chairs all day and on our sofa at night, bend over our laptops and telephones, these muscle become long and weak. Bhujangasana – Cobra will help them gain strength again.
If you do the posture with your hands on the floor, you are able to lift up higher. This way you get a deeper back bend, lengthening your abdominal muscles. Because of the forward bending we do, we are actually shortening them all day. Back bends can counteract this.
There is a spiritual side to back bends as well. They open our heart. Look at what is physically happening in your body when you are afraid or under a lot of stress. You are almost rounding yourself into a little ball. Your shoulders come forward, closing of your heart. That is why back bends are heart openers.
Letting go of the old
There is more. There is a reason why this heart opener is named after a snake. When we open our heart, old emotions will come back. To progress into life we have to let go of old emotions. Letting go is one of the hardest things to do. Often we cling to things or emotions that don’t serve us anymore. Just because we feel safe in the old situation and don’t know what is ahead of us.
I talk a lot about relationships, so lets use that example again. Last time I wrote a blog Breaking up is an act of love as well. Maybe you have been in a relationship for years and your lover is not the one that is making you happy anymore. Maybe love is over. These things happen. I truly believe that the people we meet are our teachers in life. Sometimes we grow together for a longer period of time, sometimes for a short period of time and sometimes for ever. If you are in a situation where you want to let go there are a lot of consequences. You have a life together, friends, a house. Letting go might – at first sight – mean giving it all up. Maybe you don’t love your lover anymore, but you still love the life you have created. It’s normal to be afraid to let go. These are the situations where your mind will try to deceive you; clinging on to what it knows. These are the situations where you have to choose between love or fear. Ask yourself: if you are holding on to that life and that lover; will that bring you ultimate happiness? Bliss?
What does this have to do with Bhujangasana – Cobra? Everything. A sneak grows a new skin underneath his old. When he is ready he will shed his old skin. It doesn’t mean he is throwing away everything. He is just shedding his skin.
Crossroad in your life
When you are on a crossroad in your life, you to are ready for something new. That is why life have brought you on this crossroad. You too have grown a new skin. A new you. The only thing you have to do, is shed the old one. In this example the lover that doesn’t help you anymore to progress on the path of life. It doesn’t mean you will loose the whole life you love so much. You might have to reorganize it a bit, but you can keep on living the good parts of it. Only with new input.
Bhujangasana – Cobra learns us to open up our heart to life. To open up our heart to new situations. It learns us to rise up out of the old and embrace the new with the pride and the confidence of a cobra.
How to do Bhujangasana – Cobra
- Lay flat on your belly with your face downwards
- Place your feet together, straighten your legs and point your toes backwards
- Place your hands close to your pelvis, with the palms of your hands on he floor
- Breath in and press in your hands, lifting up your chest. Your pubic bone should stay grounded
- Engage the muscles of your thigh and your buttocks
- Stay in the pose for 30 seconds and slowly come back laying flat on your belly again
- There is a second variation where you use the muscles of your back to lift up. Your hands come a few centimeters from the floor
Benefits of Bhujangasana – Cobra
- Rejuvenates the spine
- Stretches and strengthens the spine
- Opens chest and lungs
- Stretches shoulders and abdomen
- Firms the buttocks
- Stimulates abdominal organs
- Helps relieve stress and fatigue
- Awakens kundalini energy