Ardha Bhujangasana – Half Cobra Pose, How To Do, Benefits, Dosha Effect

By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S

In Bhujangasana the practitioner performs the pose by taking the shape of a cobra. Ardha Bhujangasana is a variant of Bhujangasana. It is also a backbend like cobra pose but puts less strain on the back in comparison to cobra pose. It is an exercise which stretches your front torso and also spine. It is also called as Baby Cobra Pose.

Ardha – Half
Bhujanga = Cobra or Snake
Asana = Posture

The final pose resembles an Egyptian sphinx. Therefore, it is also called as Sphinx Pose.
Read – Bhujangasana Cobra Pose, How to do, Benefits, Variants, Side Effects

Preparation for Ardha Bhujangasana

It is done on empty stomach means 4-6 hours after meal or early in the morning. Evening time may also be preferred. Bowel and bladder need to be evacuated before practicing this pose.

Method of doing

Positioning for the Asana

  • Lie flat on your stomach, facing the floor
  • Place your upper limbs on the sides of your body.
  • See that toes of your feet are touching each other. If you have backache put your feet 1-2 feet apart.
  • Now slowly move your hands to the front and bring them to the level of your shoulders. Place your palms on the floor.
  • Now your palms and elbows are resting on the yoga mat under your shoulders.

Performing and getting to the Ardha Bhujangasana pose

  • Transfer your body weight equally on both palms gradually and press the floor to give a lift to your torso.
  • Inhale and slowly lift head and trunk off the floor.
  • Your arms are bent at your elbows.
  • Now slowly arch your neck backward.
  • This pose shall look like a cobra with raised hood, just like in cobra pose. The lift of your head, trunk and arching of your neck is half of that in cobra pose. Keep your shoulder blades firm and away from ears.
  • At the same time you press your hips, thighs and feet to the floor. Press your tummy against the floor.
  • Stay in this pose for 15-30 seconds. Breathe normally.
  • Master this pose gradually until you could hold on to the pose for more time, for at least 2 minutes.

Release from the asana

  • To release from this pose, bring your tummy, chest and head back to the floor while breathing out gently.
  • Bring your hands to the sides as at the beginning.
  • Rest your head on the ground.
  • Bring your forehead in contact with the floor.
  • By placing your hands beneath your head rest your head on to one side and breathe freely.
  • Repeat it for 3-4 times.
    Read – Tiryaka Bhujangasana Swaying Cobra Pose, Method, Benefits, Side Effects

What time should be spent in the pose while doing Ardha Bhujangasana?

Approximately 15-60 seconds should be spent in Ardha Bhujangasana pose initially. With practice gradually one can do it for 1-2 minutes.  

Watch this video to follow the method of doing Ardha Bhujangasana

Health Benefits

  • Strengthens and stretches the shoulders
  • Provides flexibility to the backbone
  • Opens up the shoulders and chest
  • Relieves back pain, slipped disc and sciatica
  • Tones up the buttocks and thigh muscles
  • Helps in secretion of cortisone, helps in alleviation of rheumatism
  • Reduces stress – by massaging the adrenal gland, this gland produces adrenaline which is beneficial in easing stress and tension in the body
  • Improves focus
  • Helps release blocked emotions
  • Remedy for depression and anxiety  
  • Helps in expanding the chest, improves lung capacity and cures many breathing disorders
  • It is helpful in regulating thyroid gland and its functions
  • Compresses kidney and improves its efficiency and functioning.
  • Provides massage to abdominal organs and makes digestion good and is beneficial to treat indigestion, flatulence and constipation
  • It is a good treatment for many gynecological disorders, tones up the uterus and ovaries. It is a remedy for amenorrhea, leucorrhea and dysmenorrhea.
  • Activates Kundalini
    Read – Health Benefits Of Yoga: Mind And Body

Impact on Chakras

Ardha Bhujangasana activates the heart chakra i.e. anahata chakra. This chakra is believed to be associated with love, compassion, self-acceptance and forgiveness. It also works as a bridge between the lower and higher chakras. When it does so, the upper spiritual chakras are activated and enable connecting us with our higher self.

Contraindication, Precautions

Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Ardha Bhujangasana –

  • Hernia
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Intestinal tuberculosis
  • Serious abdominal injuries

Patients suffering from slip disc, sciatica and ulcerative colitis should do it under guidance of an expert Yoga therapist or take extra precautions while doing this pose. It should not be performed by pregnant woman.
Read – Hypothyroidism Causes, Symptoms, Ayurvedic Treatment, Remedies

Effect of Ardha Bhujangasana on doshas and tissues

Ardha Bhujangasana helps in balancing vata dosha. Since it has a role in relieving stress and anxiety, it has a calming effect on Prana-Udana Vata axis. Since it improves menstrual irregularities in women, it controls apana vata. It also helps in improving digestion. The asana maintains samana vata and pachaka pitta in equilibrium. It balances udana vata functions and therefore is beneficial for breathing disorders including asthma and balances thyroid functions.

Half Cobra Pose is extremely good for bone and muscle tissues. It stretches, strengthens and makes these tissues flexible.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)

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