Like all yoga postures, Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana as it is called in Sanskrit, provides a myriad of benefits. As a backbend, it strengthens and stretches numerous areas of the body, improves breathing and supports many internal functions.
Today, however, I would like to focus on one particular quality of Bhujangasana – its ability to protect.
In nature, a cobra is characterized by the hood it displays in times of duress. This hood extends outward behind the snake’s head. A fun fact is that the hood contains loose skin and expandable ribs which the cobra can inflate with air from its lungs. Needless to say, this ability to lift and stretch its upper back is a powerful method of defense.
In The Legend of Mucalinda it is believed that a massive cobra spread its hood over the Buddha to protect him from the sun while he meditated. To this day, cobra images guard the entrances of many Buddhist and Hindu temples.
In yoga practice, Bhujangasana is one of the most effective asanas for protecting us against back pain. It is most successful for increasing the flexibility of the spine and muscles of the back so that stiffness is reduced from the lower spinal region.
Bhujangasana helps to de stress the spine, remove impurities and tone up the spinal nerves – all to shield us from future suffering.
As a back strengthener, it is a surefire way to prevent future back issues. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Education and Practice looked at the effects of the Cobra Pose along with other yoga poses that focus on the back muscles. After the three-month study concluded, researchers found that performing yoga poses that focus on the back, including the Cobra Pose, led to significant improvements in overall back strength.
Although I am more than a bit squeamish about seeing snakes or even talking about snakes, I am going to source one last snake reference. Take a look at the number of vertebra in this animal!
200-400 compared with our 33. Amasssssssing.
Bhowmik, Sanjib Kumar, Avjeet Mondal, Shrikrishna Patel, and Upendra Pandey. “Effect of Various Yogic Intervention Strategies on Back Strength of Homemakers.” Journal of Education and Practice 3, no. 14 (2012): 49-58.