Wide-Arm Cobra

Definition - What does Wide-Arm Cobra mean?

Wide-arm cobra pose is a moderate supine backbend and a modification of cobra pose.

To enter the pose, begin by lying down on the stomach with the legs extended and the tops of the feet on the mat, toes pointed. The feet and legs are slightly apart, about hip-width distance. Place the hands wider than the mat on each side of the chest. With the elbows bent and pointed toward the ceiling, raise the palms of the hands, coming onto the tips of the fingers. Press the tops of the feet, legs, pubic bone and fingertips into the mat to support the lower body and lift the head and torso off the floor. Pull in on the navel, pressing the pubic bone into the floor. The bottom ribs and abdomen remain on the floor. Mindfully arch the back, lifting the chest and the crown of the head toward the ceiling. Drop the shoulders down the back away from the ears. Keeping a slight bend in the elbows, straighten the arms. Hold for a count of three to six breaths. To come out of the pose, slowly lower the torso back down to the floor.

The Sanskrit name for wide-arm cobra is bhujangasana.

Yogapedia explains Wide-Arm Cobra

Wide-arm cobra pose is often used within a Sun Salutation or vinyasa as a transitional pose. It is considered a moderate backbend that helps prepare the spine for more advanced asanas. The modification with the arms placed wider than the mat allows for the chest and shoulders to open more fully than in the traditional cobra pose. The pose can be practiced as a low cobra or high cobra and is easily adjusted based on individual needs.

Wide-arm cobra is an excellent asana to relieve tight muscles resulting from working at a desk or using mobile devices for many hours.

Additional benefits of wide-arm cobra include:

  • Opens the heart and chest
  • Stretches the entire front of the body
  • Strengthens the back of the body, shoulders and abdomen
  • Engages and firms the gluteal muscles
  • Aids digestion and relieves intensinal discomfort
  • Counter stretches forward bends

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