How to do King Cobra Pose


The King Cobra is a more challenging version of the Cobra or Baby Cobra. The degree of curve or bend in the spine is what makes the difference between these three poses.

Try working towards Cobra with straightened elbows if you are comfortable in Baby Cobra. You may want to try working your way up to King Cobra if you feel comfortable in Baby Cobra.

You can start now by reading the below instructions on how to energize and strengthen your backbend safely.


Backbends, such as the Cobra pose and its many variations, are an excellent way to activate your heart chakra. They also work the spine safely in the prone position. The backbends open up the chest and shoulders, which have been hunched at the desk for 8 hours or studying for finals until the early morning hours.

Cobra and its variations can invigorate your body for the task or the day ahead. They can improve the mobility of the spine and strengthen all the muscles of the back.

The spine will remain supple and strong. King Cobra strengthens the muscles of the legs and stretches the hip flexors and quads.

Step by Step

  • Rest your forehead on the floor in a prone (or tummy) position.
  • Spread your fingers wide and place your hands on the mat under your shoulders.
  • As you squeeze your elbows against your ribs, move your shoulder blades towards your hips.
  • With the tops and pubic bones of your feet, press firmly on the mat.
  • As you inhale, lift your chest off the mat and place it on top of the baby cobra.
  • Engage your abdominals if you feel comfortable. Protect your lower back by bringing your navel towards your spine. Press through your hands and use your back muscles to lift higher. Straighten your arms.
  • Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position if you want to intensify your King Cobra. Spread your legs out so that the knees are pointing toward the edge of the mat. Press into the Earth using the same technique as described above and lift your torso off the mat.
  • Take a bend in your neck and raise your head.
  • Take your toes up and bend your knees.
  • Continue to hold the Pose for a few more breaths, then lower yourself slowly in the same manner as you entered the Pose.

Contraindications, tips, and tricks

Flexibility is not an endpoint but a journey. Open your spine slowly and only at the level you feel is right for you. It is important to take care of the spine.

Try to use your back more than ever before, even if your spine isn’t yet ready to articulate into King Cobra. Your spine will thank you for taking it slowly, I promise.

  • Power the bend using your back muscles, not your arms. Use your abs to prevent injury! Engage your core and bring the navel into the spine to protect it.
  • Look at your lower back. Does it cause you to bend your back? You may be tempted to generate the movement here. However, this will only compress your spine and cause you pain.
  • Try to bend your spine evenly. This is easier said than accomplished, as our lower backs are more flexible.
  • Warm up before you attempt the full expression. Sun Salutations, Standing Crescent Moons, Lunges with a Minor Backbend, and Sphinx Pose are all good to do.

Avoid this Pose if you are in the second or third trimester or if there is a recent or chronic back or neck injury.

Carpal tunnel syndrome and king cobra are not compatible.

Child’s Pose feels great after King Cobra. It is good to do anything that lengthens and neutralizes the spine. Even if you just lay flat on your stomach with your head to one side, your cheeks flat against the mat, and your neck straight up, it is a great option.

When you practice King Cobra, you may feel a range of emotions, from anger to sadness or gratitude to acceptance. It’s normal to feel these emotions as your heart chakra opens up and releases feelings that you may have held for a very long time.

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