Performing the Cobra Yoga Pose

The Cobra yoga pose is a basic backbending posture used to stretch and strengthen the upper body. For many, the cobra is an ideal pose to prepare you for deeper backbend poses. 

In many yoga classes, the Cobra pose is used early as part of the sun salutation to stretch and warm up the torso. The pose does an effective job of stretching and strengthening the lower back and supporting core muscles.

It also opens the chest area to expand lung capacity for better oxygen levels and has a positive effect on your respiratory system. The Cobra pose can be a mood enhancing pose as well as a stress relieving movement.

Cobra Yoga Pose


  • Start out lying on your stomach with your hands positioned under your shoulders, your fingers facing forward, and legs straight behind you with your toes pointed straight out.

  • With your hands under your shoulders and your fingers pointed forward, press your elbows against your sides.

  • Press your hips down into the floor, engage your ab muscles, and gently lift your head and chest off the floor. Make sure to keep your hips fully grounded. Draw your shoulder blades together as you push your chest area forward.

  • Try not to "push" yourself away from the floor. Allow the lift to happen as a natural extension of your spine. Try and hold the pose for up to 30 seconds.

  • You can deepen the stretch as you advance, but don't strain yourself trying to bend to deep.

yoga cobra poseTaylor Demonstrating the Cobra Yoga Pose


  • When you first start doing the Cobra pose, try not to hold yourself in the pose too long at first. Repeat the exercise a few extra times and make them short. This will allow your body time to warm up and get used to the stretching pose. 

  • To stop yourself from over-working with the pose, try and keep a slight bend in your elbows. 

  • It is also important not to extend yourself too far with the back bending. If you are just starting out, stop when you reach a height that is comfortable and does not overly strain your back. 

  • If you have stiffness in your spine or shoulders, the Cobra pose can be done standing. Stand facing a wall with your palms placed against the wall with your elbows pressed against your sides. Press against the wall and scrunch your shoulder blades into your upper back.

Cobra Yoga Pose Benefits

  • Strengthens the upper body and spine. Because you are holding your torso up, the Cobra pose will add strength and tone to your back and arm muscles.

  • Stretches the muscles in your core and up through your shoulders and chest to relieve tightness. This is very effective for people who are stuck at a desk job or driving all through the day hunched over.

  • Increases flexibility throughout the body. This can be especially helpful for those who have any pain generated from their sciatic nerve which is caused by muscle tightness in the hips and lower body.

  • Can stimulate abdominal organs and improve digestion. Bending poses typically help massage internal organs.

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