Take Cobra or Upward Facing Dog... What’s the difference?!

You’re in a Vinyasa yoga class and the teacher offers either cobra or upward facing dog. What’s the difference?

The answer? The alignment.


Cobra (Bhujangasana)

Cobra pose is defined by it’s bent elbows, gentle curling of the spine, and thighs on the floor. It is generally suggested if you lower in chaturanga (that push up thing) with your knees down or if everyone is cued to lower to the belly. Cobra is a great option for everyone, and provides a different backbending sensation than upward facing dog. Those with wrist, shoulder, and low back issues may want to stick with cobra as it is less intense on those areas of the body.


Upward Facing Dog (Urdva Mukha Svanasana)

Upward Facing Dog (or updog) is defined by its straight arms, larger backbend, and hips and thighs lifted off of the floor. Upward Facing Dog is more appropriate if coming into it straight after the chaturanga without lowering to the belly first. Coming into upward facing dog can be a bit more challenging as the shoulders need to have a decent amount of flexibility so that the backbend doesn’t occur in the lower back (Ow). This posture is not recommended if you have wrist issues, shoulder issues, low back issues, or are brand new to yoga.

I hope this general comparison is helpful! Feel free to ask for help or clarification from any of our amazing teachers at Lotus Town Yoga!



Tiffany Coombs