Bhujangasana or cobra is honoured in a variety of ways in Indian mythology and the symbolism filters into many areas of our yoga practice too. Paying attention to this allows us to journey to a more subtle level in our practice and encourages us to face our fears.
The snake itself is regarding as all-seeing, alert and watchful as it has no eyelids so it tends to be associated with being a symbol of wisdom; wisdom being necessary to attain enlightenment, Samadhi. The snake also has no ears therefore it cannot hear, however, it is sensitive to subtle vibrations allowing it to listen internally symbolising a deeper natural focus compared to other living beings. Many people fear snakes because of their strength and poisonous venom, however, Krishna is shown dancing on a serpent evoking a sense that we can overcome our fears like Krishna and have power over them.
In Bhujangasana practitioners lay on their fronts and raise up through their heart centre like the hood of a cobra. The legs represent the snake’s tail. As snakes have no limbs, the strength mainly comes from the spine and associated back muscles in the posture rather than our hands/arms and they also form part of the hood. With this in mind we can use this symbolism as a reminder not to be spineless in certain situations and to face issues head on. I know, it’s easier said than done!