How To Do Low Cobra

By: Chris Freytag, CPT


Low Cobra is a pose that opens the chest and front of the shoulders as well as strengthening the muscles of the upper back. Many of the poses practiced in yoga are great at opening the back and hamstrings, but Low Cobra provides the balance to those poses. Too often we are rounded in our shoulders and slightly hunched over. If this sounds like you, then you should learn how to do Low Cobra.

How does Low Cobra help eliminate a hunchback? The first reason for that hunched-over appearance is tight and overworked muscles of the chest, shoulders and biceps. Low Cobra stretches these muscles and opens the front of the body. The second reason for a hunchback look is bad posture from weak and overstretched muscles of the upper back due to overuse of this position. The Mayo Clinic describes what good posture should look like: chest high and shoulders back. Unfortunately most of us are hunched over sitting at a desk, driving with a slouched back or looking down at a Low Cobra uses the upper back muscles to lift the upper body off the ground.

Low Cobra is one of the four poses incorporated into a Vinyasa Flow. In a Vinyasa flow your body moves from Downward Dog to Plank to Chaturanga to Low Cobra. This Flow is the perfect balance between both stretching and strengthening both the front and back side of the body. For this reason, Vinyasa Flows are a staple of most yoga practices.

Once you are familiar with Low Cobra you can move to the Up Dog position. The Up Dog pose takes the Low Cobra, adds a press through the arms and a lift of the legs off the ground giving you an even deeper stretch through the entire front of the body.

This pose open chest and strengthens upper back.

1) Begin lying face down on your mat with head slightly lifted and hand sitting directly under shoulders.

2) Point your toes so the tops of you feet are on the mat.

3) As you exhale, lift your heart slighty using your upper back muscles and keeping ribs on the mat.

4) Keep your legs and feet relaxed and on the ground.

5) Keep your abdominals contracted and breathe slowly.

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