Yoga: Is cobra pose bad for the back?
If you have already come across the detailed yoga poses under the sun salutation also known as Surya Namaskar, you must be aware of the Bhujangasana also called as cobra pose. It is the eighth poster of the Surya namaskar yoga sequence. It is easy enough for beginners to perform it even though some people tend to develop back pain or soreness while doing it or after performing it. Have you also experienced backache due to cobra pose? Is cobra pose bad for your back?
Well, if it is not done properly, you may end up having back pain!
Can cobra pose give you a backache?
According to yoga expert Grand Master Akshar, “Bhujangasana is a back bending pose and is very useful to keep your back healthy and it does not cause pain in your back. Practicing this asana individually or through the Surya Namaskar can make your spinal region strong and very agile. This posture can tone your body and the spinal nerves. Moreover, Bhujangasana improves your digestion, liver and kidney functions as well.”
Bhujangasana is considered one of the best asanas to get a flat stomach. It helps in strengthening and elongating the stomach. This asana burns unwanted stomach fat as it stretches abdominal muscles
Before performing cobra pose, practice Sukshma Vyayam in order to avoid backache
“Start your practice with Sukshma Vyayam or subtle exercises. These consist of a gentle rotation of the neck, arms, wrists, hips, ankles to slowly warm up the joints. Walk around briskly, and stretch and mobilize your muscles. This will prepare your body for practice, and keep you safe from practice-related injuries,” suggests Grand Master Akshar.
So before you attempt any back-bending postures, ensure that your body is sufficiently warmed up.
Additionally, before you practice Bhujangasana, you can start with these preparatory poses:
- Hasta Uttanasana
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
- Tiryaka Bhujangasana
Cobra Pose: step-by-step instructions
Step 1: Lie down flat on the floor on your stomach. Stretch your legs back with your toes out on the floor. Spread your palms on the floor under your shoulders and bring the elbows close to the sides of your body.
Step 2: Press the tops of your feet and thighs into the floor.
Step 3: Inhale as you press your palms into the floor and slowly straighten the arms. Lift the chest off the floor as much as till your navel. Let your pelvis remain on the floor. Gently squeeze your buttocks even as you keep pushing your navel down.
Step 4: Broaden your shoulder blades as you engage them to lift up the chest forward.
Step 5: Hold the pose for anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds inhaling and exhaling. Release back to the floor with an exhalation.
Contraindications and cautions
Please avoid this pose in case of:
- Back injury
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Avoid these common mistakes that everyone tends to make which can increase your chances of back pain.
1. Placing your hands wrongly
2. Trying to lift your upper body
3. Having a gap between the legs
4. Doing the incorrect neck movement
5. Putting too much pressure on the back
6. Locking your elbows
Read the many benefits of performing cobra pose
1. Strengthens the spine
2. Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
3. Tones the buttocks
4. Stimulates abdominal organs
5. Helps relieve stress and fatigue
6. Opens the heart and lungs
7. Soothes sciatica
8. Therapeutic for asthma
9. The male and female reproductive system improves
10. Irregular menstrual cycle problems are rectified too
11. With the increased blood circulation, your face gets a radiant look
Want to deepen the cobra pose?
In order to challenge yourself, if you are flexible in the armpits and chest you can turn Bhujangasana into a deeper backbend. Take the hands a little ahead to straighten your elbows, turning the arms outward. Engage the sternum to lift up straight toward the ceiling.
Word of caution
If you have an inflexible back, it is recommended that you use the help of props before doing this pose on the floor.