The Gheranda Samhitta explains Bhujangasana thus: Place your body on the floor with your tummy touching the floor. Keep your palms on the ground and raise your body from the waist upwards. Maintain your head as a cobra lifts its crown.
In Sanskrit, the term ‘Bhujanga’ refers to the cobra and ‘asana’ means exercise. Hence, as the nomenclature suggests, Bhujangasana means the practitioner’s head will have to emulate the cobra as it raises its hood while preparing to strike. The remaining portion of the practitioner’s body from the waist downwards should be similar to the position of the cobra’s tail portion.
Methodology of Bhujangasana
- Bhujangasana is apparently a simple exercise. However, it is easy to commit mistakes as well. So, pay attention to the details to get the optimum advantages. One should do Bhujangasana in a relaxed and slow manner. Neither strain your back muscles nor do it in hasty or sudden movements.
- Bhujangasana should be followed up with Shalabhasana and Dhanurasana. These two asanas along with Bhujangasana constitute a trio. They are complementary to each other.
- Mentionably, the two counter postures of Bhujangasana are Halasana and Paschimotanasana.
- Bhujangasana is done in two stages: General and Energetic.
Note of Caution
- Don’t try this asana if you are suffering from high blood pressure, hernia, or peptic ulcer.
- Don’t practice Bhujangasana during pregnancy!
- The novices may not be able to do this asana at the first go. Proceed slowly and over several attempts.
The General Stage
- Practice Bhujangasana on an empty tummy.
- First, lie down with your torso touching the mat.
- Both your toes should be kept together and they should be turned outwards. The toes should also be touching the mat.
- The heels should be also touching each other.
- The soles will have to be turned backwards.
- During the exercise, never move the feet apart.
- Keep your palms parallel to and on either sides of your chest.
- The palms must be kept firm on the floor. The palms actually help you to you’re your truck from the ground at a subsequent stage.
- Ensure that your palms are in a balancing position with reference to your shoulders.
- The correct balancing position can be gauged by the finger tips remaining at a level which in line with the shoulders.
- When you raise your trunk, your forearms should be touching the sides of the chest.
- The forearms should remain in that position even while you return to the starting position as you lower your trunk.
- Further, don’t bend the elbows or separate them while doing the asana. Keep them close to the trunk sides.
- The strategy to raise your trunk higher is to look as far as possible when you raise your head.
- Slowly curve your spine.
- This tactic will also help you to heighten the spinal curvature.
The Energetic Stage
- Prior to raising the trunk, you should bend your neck and head backwards to the maximum limit.
- Throw out your chin.
- Keep the chest close to the ground.
- Don’t involve the trunk at this stage.
- When you bend the head to the optimum level, slowly raise it.
- Follow it up with the chest and then the trunk.
- This elevation must be in a smooth flow.
- Remember not to raise the shoulder while raising the head and the trunk.
- During the elevation stage, you should keep the shoulder blades close to each other.
- The spinal column right from the neck down to the navel portion should be curved up gradually and in a continuous move.
- The legs should remain together and straight.
- Don’t straighten the arms.
- Maintain the posture using only the strength of the back muscles and with no pressure on the hands.
- Your palms, hands and arms should be used only to maintain the body balance while you elevate your trunk. The arms and hands should be relaxed while you raise your trunk.
- Stay in the posture as long as you feel comfortable. The means to determine this moment is when you feel that you are putting pressure on your arms.
- When you descent, it is your back muscles again which should guide the return movement till your chin touches the ground.
Advantages of Bhujangasana
Following are the Therapeutical and Physical advantages.
- Bhujangasana is especially beneficial for women suffering from irregular menstrual cycles.
- Bhujangasana also cures several dysfunctions of the ovaries and the uterus.
- Bhujangasana augments the functioning of the ovaries and the neighboring areas of the pelvic region. This is done in the course of pressure put on the abdominal areas.
- The diabetics also experience positive effects. Practising Bhujangasana activates the pancreas.
- If you are suffering from low blood pressure, practice Bhujangasana.
- Bhujangasana cures the irregular bowel movement syndrome. The intra-abdominal pressure you put while doing Bhujangasana helps bring down the faecal matter from the transverse colon to the rectum.
- Flatulence is cured. The asana expels gas from the intestines and the stomach.
- Bhujangasana is the panacea for all pains in the neck and the back.
- Bhujangasana is an ideal exercise for the white-collar job personnel.
- IT employees should regularly practise Bhujangasana as a complete exercise of their body and mind.
- Bhujangasana promotes youth by augmenting the suppleness of the spinal column.
- Old age syndromes are kept at bay.
- Bhujangasana is an ideal tonic for all kinds of fatigue.
- You will improve your posture.
- You will also get full stature.
- Corpulence is cured.
- Flab is reduced especially in the hips, abdomen and waist.
- The figure becomes proportionate.
- Back humps are cured.
- Bhujangasana boosts the nervous and the circulatory systems.
- Bhujangasana also increases lung power and in improving the voice.
- Regular practice of Bhujangasana facilitates blood circulation to the upper lobes of the lungs.
- Your chest will expand. The pectoral muscles will develop.
- The spinal column is realigned.
- Your posterior, arms, shoulders and wrists will become stronger.
- Bhujangasana invigorates the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems.
- Your abdominal muscles will be made more supple.
- The viscera is toned up.
- Your pancreas, gall bladder, spleen and the liver get gentle massages.
- Bhujangasana exercises the vertebrae while stretching them.
- When you do the full posture, Bhujangasana also contracts and relaxes the back muscles.
- Bhujangasana also keeps the vertebrae in good alignment.
* Gheranda Samhita (II—42-43)