1. Lie on your belly, with the chin on the floor, palms flat on the floor under the shoulders and legs together.

2. Pull up the knee caps, squeeze the thighs and buttocks, engage mula bandha, and press the pubic bone down into the floor.

3. Without using the arms, inhale and lift the head and chest off of the floor, keeping the neck in line with the spine.

4. With the elbows close to your sides, press down into the palms and use the arms to lift you up even higher. Drop the shoulders down and back and press the chest forward. Keep the legs, buttocks, and mula bandha strong, and keep the pubic bone pressing down into the floor.

5. Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.

6. To release: exhale and slowly lower the chest and head to the floor. Turn the head to one side and rest, rock the hips from side to side to release any tension in the low back.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Cobra opens the chest and strengthens the core body. Cobra aligns the spine and invigorates the kidneys and nervous system.

Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the back, arms or shoulders, pregnancy or recent abdominal surgery.

Modifications + Variations

Modifications: To reduce strain in the low back: A) Increase the bend in the elbows, or B) Walk the hands further forward.

Variations: Use Sphinx pose as an easier variation to Cobra.


Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Plank, Child, Caterpillar.
Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose: Child, Plank, Locust, Half Bow.

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4 responses to “Cobra”

  1. Mariana Avatar

    Hi I am trying to do a correct cobra it is very difficult for me on my arms and to get a good lift of the chest . What exercises do yo recommend so I can get stronger arms and a better elevation of my chest without hurting my back .
    thank you

    1. Timothy Burgin Avatar
      Timothy Burgin

      You need to use your core more than your arms for cobra. Practice Locust pose to build up your core: Plank pose and down dog will also help build arm strength.

  2. Johni Reagle Avatar
    Johni Reagle

    The cobra pose is a yoga pose that is great for opening my upper chest and shoulders. It also strengthens the muscles of the back and abdomen. Great info, thank you.

  3. Lara McLeod Avatar
    Lara McLeod

    The cobra pose has always been one of my favorite yoga poses. I appreciate the detailed instructions on how to perform the cobra pose correctly.

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