Twisting Cobra pose

Yoga Poses

Twisting Cobra pose Tiryaka Bhujangasana

Steps

Begin reversed corpse pose (advasana), lying on the belly, forehead to ground, feet hips width apart, toes tucked. Place the hands flat on the ground, below the shoulders. Bend the elbows and squeeze then against the sides of the chest. Press chest forward and lift the upper body off the ground. Slowly raise the head, straighten the left elbow and look over the right shoulder. Bring the head back to centre and return to front lying corpse pose. Repeat the other side.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

This pose - sometimes called twisting serpent pose, requires flexibility of the back and spine. The hips, pelvis and legs remain grounded - in contact with the ground, only the upper body moves, twisting to the right and then to the left. Try using visualisations, such as ‘relax the back muscles, letting your hips and pelvis sink into the ground. Push the floor away with the palms and press the chest forward and arch the back. Imagine a golden thread attached from crown of the head to the ceiling, chin is level to the floor.

Technical Comments

When front lying, relax the whole body. Ground the hips and pelvis. Place palms flat under the shoulders – squeeze the elbows to the side chest. Stretch the head crown and sternum forward. Press the fronts of the feet and toe nails into the ground. Press palms into the ground and gently raise shoulders and neck. Straighten the elbows and arms, raising the torso off the ground – belly button is just 3 inches from the ground. Look straight ahead and hold the pose. Inhale, raise the chest slightly higher, exhale and turn towards the right, (fully straighten left elbow, twisting to right). Inhale back to centre. Return to front lying corpse and repeat other side.

Benefit Comments

  • Expands lungs and improves breathing
  • Improves flexibility of the back
  • Relieves backache
  • Tones abdomen
  • Massages female reproductive organs (ovaries and uterus, reliving menstrual cramps)
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Alleviates constipation
  • Massages and stimulates liver and kidneys

Watch Out For:

  • Twisting hips – keep both hips grounded
  • Compression of neck and lower back – practice low cobra or sphinx pose to improve flexibility.

Contraindications

  • Peptic ulcers
  • Hernia
  • Intestinal disorders
  • Hyperthyroidism

Modifications

  • Low cobra – keep elbows bent, mid torso on ground, lifting only head and sternum
  • Sphinx pose- place forearms on ground, lifting only head and sternum

Variations

  • Baby twisting cobra – in front lying corpse pose, walk hands around to right, back to centre, then around to left
  • Twisting snake pose (triyaka sarpasana) – interlock fingers behind the back and practice as above

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Downward facing dog (Adho mukha svanasana)
  • Child pose (Balasana)
  • Cat pose (Marjari-asana)

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

RYT 200 yoga teacher and journalist in Oxford, England. More information about Brenda can be found at www.pret-a-yoga.com

Return to Yoga Pose Directory