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How to do Baby Cobra Pose

Today we explore Baby Cobra (Ardha Bhujangasana).

Baby Cobra pose, or Ardha Bhujangasana, is a beginner-friendly yoga posture that encourages spinal extension (gentle backbend). 

It is common to see this posture in hatha yoga classes.

Baby Cobra opens the chest and shoulders, while simultaneously strengthening the back body.

This posture is categorized as a “backbend” and “heart opener.” 


  • Stretches the chest, shoulders, and tops of the ankles

  • Strengthens the back and shoulders

  • Improves spinal flexibility and mobility

  • Improves breathing

  • Energizes the mind and body

  • Can reduce stress

  • May alleviate lower back pain or discomfort

How To

  1. Lie down on your belly with your forehead resting on the ground.

  2. Extend your legs out long.

  3. Keep your heels hip-width apart.

  4. Gently press the tops of your feet against the ground.

  5. Rock your pelvis forward, pressing your pubic bone gently into the surface beneath you.

  6. Place your hands underneath your shoulders and spread through your fingers.

  7. Hug your elbows in towards your sides.

  8. Squeeze your shoulder blades closer together and relax your shoulders away from your ears.

  9. Engage your abdominal wall by hugging your belly button in towards your spine.

  10. On your breath in, slowly lift your chest and forehead away from the ground. 

  11. Tuck your chin in slightly as you look towards the top short edge of your mat or slightly past your nose.

  12.  Check in with your arms and shoulders. Gently squeeze your shoulder blades closer together and relax your shoulders down.

  13.  Relax through your legs, gluteal muscles, arms and hands.

  14.  Avoid forcing yourself into the pose using your hands. The power really comes from your back.

  15.  Keep this backbend small and gentle. 

  16.  Remain here for a breath or two.

  17.  On your breath out, slowly lower your chest and head back to the earth.

  18.  Repeat this sequence a few more times, moving with your breath.


  • Walk your feet wider than hip distance apart to reduce low back tension

  • Walk your hands slightly off your mat as you move in and out of Baby Cobra pose. This is a great way to activate your upper back muscles.


Many of us experience stiffness throughout the thoracic spine (mid and upper back) due to lifestyle (sitting for long periods of time) and lack of functional movement. This can cause the lower back to compensate by hyperextending, and an increased amount of pressure is placed on the cervical spine (neck) and head.

Baby Cobra encourages extension through the thoracic spine, which is fantastic for building strength and improving mobility in this area of the body. 

However, Baby Cobra pose may not feel accessible to you if you experience stiffness in your mid and upper back. 

In fact, it may aggravate your lower back as your lower back comes in to compensate for the lack of movement in the thoracic region. 

If you resonate with this, please know that you’re not alone! Here is what I recommend for you - somatics! 

To learn more about somatics, please read this blog post: What is Somatic Yoga?

Somatics can free your body of tension and movement restrictions, including stiffness throughout the thoracic spine. 

Somatic movements encourage fluid movement throughout the entire spinal chain. 

With consistent practice, yoga poses like Baby Cobra, will gradually become more accessible.

Unlock the full benefits of Baby Cobra pose by exploring somatic movements!

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