Now that you've gotten a little more flexibility and strength over these past 4 days, let's work on loosening up that back with the Cobra Posture. Grab a partner if you want to try the special variation of this next pose!


Day 5: Cobra Posture

The cobra posture is a stronger backbend for the spine with more weight on your forearms. It provides an intense lengthening of the front side of your hip and thigh muscles, and it vigorously mobilizes the spine.

What to Do:

  • Stretch out in a prone position.
  • Place your forehead on the mat, with your legs and feet stretched out.
  • Bend both arms and place your hands next to your shoulders.
  • Tighten your bottom muscles (better: tighten your pelvic muscles). Keep these muscles tight during the whole asana.
  • Inhaling, lengthen your spine and slowly lift your head and trunk. Make sure that your neck is stretched and your shoulders are down.
Cobra Posture 1 Marta Mlejnek of Martencja Photography


  • Exhaling, slowly lower your head and trunk. Synchronize your breath with your movements.
  • You can either lift and lower your head and torso in your breath rhythm, or stay in the cobra posture for a couple of complete inhalations and exhalations. (Take a break if necessary).
  • Feel the effects in the prone shanti asana, or turn onto your back and rest in the supine shanti asana. Close your eyes if you like to do so.


Special Variation with the Help of a Second Person: If you are an experienced yogini/yogi, it can be helpful to get an extra stretch with the help of a friend.

  • Start in a prone position with your forehead on the mat and your arms at the side.
  • Ask a fellow student to sit between your feet on your mat and take your wrists while you take her or his wrists. Make sure that the position works well for both of you.
  • With an inhalation, the lying person lifts the torso while at the same time with an inhalation the sitting person carefully pulls the arms of the lying person backward.
Cobra Posture 2 Marta Mlejnek of Martencja Photography


  • With both of you exhaling, lower the torso.
  • Feel the effects in the prone shanti asana, or turn onto your back and rest in the supine shanti asana. Close your eyes if it feels comfortable.


About the Book

Yoga XXL: A Journey to Health for Bigger People shows you how to create a safe, enjoyable, and effective yoga practice no matter what your age, size, shape, or physical fitness level. The author, Ingrid Kollak, RN, PhD, is a licensed yoga teacher who knows that everyone can enjoy and benefit from yoga. With this book, you'll have everything you need to bring yoga - and more health and wellness - into your daily life immediately.


Yoga XXL