Cobra Pose

Cobra pose is a key backbend that improves spinal mobility, opens up the chest and stretches the abs and hip flexors. It’s common to almost all yoga classes, which is fantastic because it is an ideal counterpose to the poor posture we find ourselves falling into if we have to sit for much of the day. Cobra pose actually requires a significant amount of flexibility in the spine and shoulders, so you can always take Sphinx pose or Baby Cobra (see below) if that feels better in your body. And Upward Facing Dog is a more advanced version of the posture.


  • Strengthens the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, lower and mid back.
  • Improves spinal mobility.
  • Opens up the chest.
  • Stretches the abs.
  • Improves posture.
  • Can help to alleviate lower and upper back pain.



  • Beginner/Intermediate


  • Set-Up

    Lie face down on your mat with your hands underneath your shoulders. Hug your arms close to your sides—elbows point straight up. Bring your legs about hip-width apart and press the tops of your feet into the mat. Check that your heels point straight up.

  • Action

    Inhale, press into your palms and lift your head and chest off the mat. Exhale, draw your shoulders back and broaden across your collarbones.

  • Refinements

    Look straight ahead to avoid the temptation to compress the back of your neck.

  • Duration

    Hold the pose for 3-5 breaths, in and out through your nose.

  • Release

    Take a deep breath in. Exhale, lower back down to the mat. Rest one cheek on the mat, bring your arms by your sides, palms facing up, and rock your hips from side to side a few times to release your lower back.


  • Depending on the flexibility of your spine, you may only be able to lift your chest up a few inches without crunching your lower back. The crucial thing is to draw your shoulders away from your ears. Baby Cobra is great for beginners to strengthen the lower back.


  • Avoid Cobra pose if you have a wrist or shoulder injury.


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