Half Cobra Pose
Definition - What does Half Cobra Pose mean?
Taking after a common yoga asana, cobra pose, the half cobra gives the benefits of a backbend but without as much flexion of the spine. The half cobra is a beginner backbend that can be utilized in almost any yoga practice. It is great as a backbend and chest opener as well as a spinal muscle builder and lung volume expansion.
To do half cobra pose, start by lying face down on the mat and placing each palm and elbow under the shoulders. Slowly press into the hands, and using the back muscles, lift the chest and head upward off of the mat. A small amount of weight can be placed on the elbows, forearms and hands, but it is important to keep this an active pose and engage the upper back muscles. The head also raises, and the gaze can be forward or upward. Hold the pose for a few full breaths. Another variation of this pose is performed with the legs slightly apart to decrease any tension placed on the spine.
Half cobra pose is known as ardha bhujangasana when translated into Sanskrit, broken down as half (ardha) and cobra (bhujangasana).
Yogapedia explains Half Cobra Pose
Half cobra is a stepping stone to full cobra position and other more intense backbends. Along with helping the spine’s extension and length, this pose is effective in opening the shoulders and chest. Internally, the soft pressure and slight upward motion is beneficial for the digestive systems, and the pelvis touching the floor massages the lymph nodes. Mentally, the half cobra alleviates feelings of anxiousness, mild depression and stress with an improved sense of focus.
Adding this pose into a yoga practice is beneficial, but those with spine injuries should perform this pose with caution. Doing the opened leg variation described above or with the hands further apart can be good modifications for those who still want to access this pose. Pregnant women, those with stomach ulcers or wrist sensitivities should practice mindfulness or avoidance when attempting to practice the half cobra.