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Niralamba Bhujungasana (unsupported cobra pose)


This is the advanced stage of bhujungasanas. Actually, this is the real bhujungasana, but if a novice tries to perform it, and gets disappointed with not getting the ideal posture, it may lead to stopping of the study together. Hence, the study of Saralhasta Bhujungasana and Vakrahasta Bhunjungasana has to be there first before proceeding on to the adavanced cobra pose, Niralamba Bhujungasana.


Taking the asana position


1. Come into the prone position. First, interlock the thumbs or interlaced the fingers on the back of the body.
2. Exhale and while inhaling, lift up the head and shoulders off the ground with the support of the muscles connecting to the spinal column. Lift the chin, shoulder, chest and abdomen off the ground. Gradually stretch the shoulders back with the help of the arms and then lift them up with the help of the spinal cord. Each vertebra is gradually lifted up, with the pressure slowly passing from the vertebra of the neck to those in the waist. Breathe normally into the pose.


The asana position


1. Ideally, the head, shoulders, chest and diaphragm region are lifted off the ground, while the legs remain on the ground at all times. One should only move as far as one is still comfortable in the pose.
2. The heels and toes should be kept together at all times.
3. The ideal pose is achieved when an attempt is made to hold the neck backwards. However, if there is strain in the neck, one should just gaze forward and breathe normally in the pose.


Releasing the asana position


1. Inhale and while exhaling, first release the waist to the ground, then the abdomen, the chest and then bend the vertebrae of the neck down to touch the chin on the ground.
2. Release the arms down to the side of the body and come back to prone position.


Anatomical focus


1. Abdomen
2. Spinal muscles
3. Spinal column




1. Maintain a steady and rhythmic breathing throughout the whole duration of going into, holding and releasing of the pose.
2. Focus on lengthening the spine first before, bending the neck backwards. Especially for beginners, you do not want to strain the spine, especially the cervical region of the spine, when you are in this pose. By over-bending, the entire lower spine collapse and could strain that region, which lead to injuries of the lumbar region.




1. Keep the toes and heels together at all times while in the pose.
2. Do not lift the arms up.
3. Breathe normally while in the pose.




1. Lift the arms up, even though this might allow some people to lift the upper torso further up. This might cause undue strains on the shoulders and neck instead, causing more harm and injuries.
2. Hold the breath while in the pose; breathe normally.
3. Move in to posture with jerky movements, as this will cause injuries to the spine due to lack of awareness while moving in to posture.




1. Muscles on the abdomen region are stretch desirably.
2. While maintaining posture, the pressure on the abdomen region increases due to breathing in the pose. The intra-abdominal organs get a good massage and thus increasing their efficiency.
3. The muscles at the back of the body, alongside the spine, are strengthen, as one is using the muscles here to lift the upper torso up and while maintaining the posture.
4. The blood circulation and efficiency of the spinal cord and muscles are improved also, and thereby improving general health.
5. It could also be practice after a series of forward-bending posture, which could cause pain and discomfort for some beginners.


Therapeutic application


1. Weak digestive system.
2. People with poor posture.


Precautions & contra-indications


1. People with diseases of the spinal column should avoid doing this pose, as it is a very strengthening pose that might aggravate the condition.
2. Those who have hernia, tuberculosis of the intestine, stomach ulcers should perform this asana with expert guidance.
3. Beginners or people with stiff spinal column should practice this asana with awareness, moving into posture in a slow and controlled manner.




For beginners, they can try to hold asana for at least 10-15 seconds first. Practice of having a slow, steady and rhythmic breathing should be practiced to further increase the strength and endurance of holding this pose. After gradual practice, one can slowly increase the time to 30 seconds with focus on steady& controlled breath and also, steady and comfortable asana. Once one is able to experience relaxation while in the pose, the duration can be increased to 3 minutes


Variations & tips


1. If the spinal column is stiff and you are practicing this asana for the first time, then practice with variation of supporting with the arms, as in Vakrahasta Bhujungasan, so that spinal column will achieve some degree of elasticity before practicing Niralamba Bhujungasana.
2. One should first think of lengthening the spine first before stretching up as this create space between the vertebrae, allowing muscles to be stretch& strengthen at the same time.
3. If there is unbearable tension while maintaining pose, one can spread the legs slightly apart.
4. One should gaze to the front if there is any undue stress and tension at the cervical region of the neck.
5. If there is pain in the pelvic region, a pillow or folded towel can be used for support and remaining comfortable in the pose. However, pillow or folded towel should not be too big, as there is a tendency to use support as a way of lifting the upper torso higher. The benefits of doing this pose will be decreased.


Preparatory poses


1. Bhujangasan series
2. Sahajahasta Bhujangasan
3. Vakrahasta Bhujangasan


Follow-up poses


1. Makarasana
2. Shavasana
3. Easy variation of Vajarasana Type 1; arms relaxed by the side of the legs


Ancient texts


References to the ancient text of Yoga shows that the bhujungasan is describe only of one type. There is no classification such as saralhasta, vakrahasta or niralamb. Gherandsamhita in its second chapter describes Bhunjungasan as under :

Angushtahanabhiparyantmadhobbhumou cha vinyaset l
Dharam kartalabhyam dhruttvordhwashirshah phaniva hi ll GS 2.42

Meaning -

Place the body from the toes of the feet to the navel touching to the ground. The head and the other parts of the body should be raised upward like a cobra?s hood. The effect of the asana is described in the next shloka.

Dehangnirvardhate nityam sarvarogavinashannam l
Jagarti Bhujagi devi bhujungasansadhanat ll GS 2.43

Meaning -

The study of this asana increases the fire in the body, eliminates the diseases and also awakens the Bhujagi Devi(Kundalini Shakti).

It is stated in Ayurveda that there are various types of fires in the body performing dfferent functions. Weakening of these fires can cause diseases. With the study of this asana, all these fires start functioning properly, eliminating diseases.

The other important ancient text on Yoga, Hatha Pradipika, it does not mention Bhunjungasan. Gherandsamhita has stated the major benefit of this asana as increase in the fires in the body and elimination of diseases thereby. The performance of this asana involves pressure on the glands secreting digestive juices. The pressure ensures efficient secretion and an improvement in the digestive system. So we can say that the digestive fire is improved. It also states that it awakens Bhujagi Devi(Kundalini Shakti).

We have seen earlier that the spinal column has a network of nerves around it, which is supplied with more blood due to performance of this asana. So we can discern from Gherandsamhita that the Kundalini Shakti, which is located at the end of Sushumna Nadi(at the base of the spinal column is awakened due to specific pressure created by this asana. However, as we have not studied the Kundalini Shakti as yet, we shall not go into further details.