This is a popular asana which is symbolizing the snake when it has its hood raised. This asana forms part of the various yoga postures in the Padma Sadhana and the Surya Namaskar. The word ‘Bhujang’ literally means Snake or the Cobra. Asana means Posture. Yoga has been commended and encouraged by experts all over the world as an alternative to medicines to live a healthy and active life. Since it has its roots in Indian culture, much of the symbolism reflects the Indian faith and cultural practices that have given birth to Yoga as a powerful practice to control our mind and body and set it free from any kind of illness, sickness, or negativity. Bhujangasana is a back-bending posture. It takes a long time to master and get it perfect as the person needs to follow the rules appropriately without any alterations.
I have personally noticed health benefits as a result of practicing this asana and encourage others to do it regularly so that they can reap the benefits too. Also, this asana is popular among people as it is easy and can be done at one’s convenience. In Yoga, every asana has a specific set of benefits for the human body and mind. Let us try to understand the benefits that Bhujangasana provides us.
Benefits of practicing Bhujangasana:
- It helps in the process of opening up both the shoulder and the neck.
- It assists in toning the abdomen and making it strong.
- It helps in strengthening the entire back portion of the body and also the shoulders.
- It aids in improving the flexibility of the upper and the middle back of the body.
- It improves blood circulation in the body.
- It helps in the reduction of fatigue and stress leading to strong positive impacts on mental health.
- It aids the expansion of the chest.
- It is meant to be good for people who have the problem of asthma. (Please note that this asana is not to be performed when the person is having an asthma attack)
- It helps in making the buttocks firm and strong.
- It is mentioned in various books that describe the Bhujangasana, that by increasing the heat inside the body it destroys any form of the disease in the body and helps in awakening the kundalini which is a power, said to be at the base of the spine.
Who should avoid?
- For those with injuries in the wrist, the spinal cord or the hip should avoid this asana as it may worsen the already prevailing condition of the person. The reason is that the asana puts a lot of stress on these regions of the body and if these parts of the body are weak, it may harm the body.
- For those who have recently undergone any kind of surgery of the upper part of the body. You must wait till you are completely cured from the surgery. It is advisable to get a confirmation from a medical expert.
- For those women who are pregnant, it is suggested that you do not attempt practicing the Bhujangasana since it will affect your health as well as that of the baby you are carrying inside you.
- This asana is prohibited for those who have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as you have a weak nervous system which leads to numbness and tingling in the hand.
- If there are medical conditions wherein you have inflammation of the abdomen, ulcer, headache, menstruation, intestinal tuberculosis, heart issues you must avoid doing Bhujangasana.
Before you wish to practice Bhujangasana please make sure that you have your stomach and the bowel empty. It is advised to have your meals at least about five hours before practicing the asana. It will give enough time to have all the food in the belly digested so that when you are going to practice the asana you have an empty stomach.
The best time to practice the Bhujangasana is the early morning time. But if you cannot make time in the morning due to your prevailing situation which may keep you busy in the morning, you can consider doing it in the evening time before the sun goes down.
It is important and also necessary that you are mentally prepared to practice Bhujangasana. Therefore, make sure that you are mentally composed and prepared. Patience is a key in practicing and expertizing in the asanas.
You have to keep trying hard and gradually to get to perfection in performing the Bhujangasana in the right/perfect form as it is meant to be. As I have personally noticed, normally people take about a few weeks of practice to get the Bhujangasana position correctly.
Stepwise Guide: How to do Bhujangasana
Step 1: Put down a Yoga Mat and lie down with your face facing downwards. Your legs need to be extended straight flat on the ground without any bending and arms need to be spread by your sides under your shoulders.
Step 2: Gradually, putting equal pressure on the palms of your hands, lift your head followed by your chest upwards as much as you possibly can. It is totally fine if you end up bending your elbow a little to stretch to the maximum possibility. Only make sure that the elbows are kept close to your body which is important. This position would be similar to that of a cobra when it raises its hood.
Step 3: Lift your head gradually and make your ears go away from your shoulders by stretching your neck a little. All along the process continue breathing normally at ease.
Step 4: Now, while exhaling, you can slowly bring your chest down by bending your elbow followed by your face and your head and lie down on the floor as in the initial position.
Please note that you must refrain from overstretching or overdoing the Bhujangasana as it will prove hazardous to your health. Ideally holding the stretched position for about 30 seconds is considered normal.
- Make sure that you give your best in practicing and particularly the art where the stretching takes place. At the same time make sure you do not end up straining your neck or back. Every person has a certain capacity and limitation. It is best to limit ourselves to our capacity and gradually improve the capacity.
- Many of the students are impatient usually as I have noticed myself. Most of them want to get done quickly and as a result panic or hurry with the body movements. It is not going to benefit in any way. Therefore, I suggest you space out ample time for the practicing of the asana and also mentally stay calm, composed, and focused.
- It is important to feel the activity of the body that is happening. When you feel the exertion of the body and accept it, you are on the right track as your mind is prepared for all the hardships (due to body stretching and exertion) that will come along the practicing of the various asanas.
- Those of them who are gifted with good flexibility must make sure that they do good stretching to their capacity and reap the benefits of the Bhujangasana in the best manner possible.
- Keep alert to give equal emphasis on both your arms so that the stretching gives equal pressure to all of your body (Both left and right hemisphere of the body).
- Beginners need to make sure that they are limiting themselves to doing the Bhujangasana just a few times. You can increase the number of times and also the time limit gradually as you begin to do this asana daily in a consistent manner.
Many of the people who attend my sessions usually have a lot of questions concerning the benefits of the Bhujangasana. They are also confused about the appropriate posture for performing the asana. This article will surely be a good forum for clarification and the right knowledge of the Bhujangasana. It is suggested that you have a yoga mat but it is not compulsory though. You can even have a common mat which is usually used at home. As you can notice that there are ample benefits that one can find with the practicing of Bhujangasana, it is also important to have consistency in practicing the asana daily to reap those benefits. If you are not committed to practicing the asana regularly, it won’t help much in benefiting your body and its health.
I hope and believe that those following up this article will be enriched and reap the benefits of this beautiful and unique asana in the field of Yoga. I wish you all the best and patience with yourself to end up perfecting the posture of the Bhujangasana.