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Shashankasana is a yoga posture that is popularly known for its calmness giving effect. Classical Hatha Yoga texts did not mention this yoga pose. Therefore we could easily assume that it is a recent addition to the stock of yogic postures.

However, there are many variations available for this pose. Swami Sivananda yoga tradition follows a version that is similar to Child Pose. Bikram Yoga follows a different version. Let us first discuss the former version in detail and then describe the other variations as well.

Furthermore, this article also describes the meaning, steps, and benefits of Shashank Bhujangasana.

Shashankasana Information

Pose NameShashankasana or
Sanskrit Nameशसांगासना
English NameMoon Pose
Rabbit Pose
Hare Pose
Difficulty LevelEasy
TypeSeated Forward Bend

Shashankasana Meaning

The Sanskrit word शसांगासना (śasāṃgāsanā) is the combination of śas+āṃg+āsanā. śas means hare or rabbit, āṃg means lap, and āsanā is a yoga position. So it gets the name Rabbit Pose or Hare Pose. The rabbit or hare often assumes this posture. That is why it gets this name.

Alternatively, Shashank means the moon. The moon gets this name because of its dark patches that resemble a hare. Hence, it also gets the name Moon Pose. The moon emits cool, calm, and soothing vibrations. Likewise, the posture gives a calm and tranquilizing effect on the performer.

Shashankasana Procedure

Precautions and Contraindications

The rabbit pose is contraindicated in conditions like a knee injury, lower back issues, hernia, pregnancy, shoulder, and neck issues. People having high blood pressure and vertigo should consult their doctors before taking this practice.

Preparatory Poses

Mastering Rabbit Pose is very easy and it requires no preparatory poses. However, the practice of following poses will make the task easier.

Shashankasana Steps

Step 1

Sit in Thunderbolt Pose placing the palms above the knees. Keep the trunk straight. Then close the eyes and take a couple of deep breaths.

Step 2

Inhaling, raise the arms above the head. Keep the arms straight and parallel.

Step 3

Exhaling, bend the body forward towards the floor. While bending, keep the trunk and arms in a straight line. Ensure that the arms and head on the floor in front of the knees. Keep the arms relaxed and check that elbows are rested on the floor.

Step 4

This is the final position. Breath normally. Keep the posture as long as it is convenient. To release the position, come back to Thunderbolt Pose.


The final position may be kept for one minute first and can easily be extended to three to five minutes.

Follow Up Poses

Any forward bending pose should be followed with a backward bending pose. So the counterposes for the Rabbit Pose are given below.

Shashankasana Benefits

The benefits of Rabbit-Pose includes the following.

  • It stretches the lower back muscles and releases the pressure on the discs.
  • Rabbit Pose prevents slipped, herniated, and prolapsed discs. Hence, it precludes back pain.
  • According to Swami Satyananda, Sasangasana when performed along with Ujjayi Pranayama annihilates the anger.
  • It regulates the functions of the adrenal glands. Besides, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system. As a result, it removes stress, depression, anxiety, grief, guilt, and low esteem.
  • Regular practice helps to prevent constipation.
  • It tones up the pelvic muscles and sphincter muscles. Also, it improves the functions of the reproductive organs.

Shashankasana Variations

Variation 1

In this variation, only the arms position differs. Instead of extending the arms parallelly, hands are kept over the back, holding the left wrist with the right hand. This variation also renders the same benefits as that of the main version.

Variation 2

In this variation also, the arms position differs. The fists are kept under the lower abdomen. As in the case of the first variation, it renders the same benefits.

Variation 3

Shasankasana Images
Image Credit: Drchirag patel

Rabbit Pose in Bikram Yoga is different from other styles of yoga. In this variation, the neck and back make a curve while the knees to hips portion are in a vertical straight line. Moreover, arms are extended back to the feet. However, one can not extend the duration for a longer period of time. But the practitioner could not enjoy the same benefits as that of the main version.

Shashank Bhujangasana | Striking Cobra Pose

Shashank Bhujangasana Meaning

Striking Cobra Yoga Pose or Shashank Bhujangasana is a dynamic yoga posture that gives many benefits to the performer. As we already know Shashank is a Rabbit and Bhujang means a Cobra. Considering its dynamic repetition, it is called Striking Cobra Pose.

Shashank Bhujangasana Steps

  1. Assume Shashankasana with palms facing down.
  2. Move the chest forward sliding along the floor to the maximum. During this movement, inhale.
  3. Then, straighten the arms and raise the chest lowering the pelvis to the floor.
  4. Now, ensure the arms are straight, back arched, and head raised. The navel should not touch the floor. At the same time, hips should be as lower as possible. Keep the position for a few seconds.
  5. Raising the buttocks and lowering the head, bend the elbows and come back to Rabbit Pose. While doing this, exhale.
  6. Repeat the steps for 5 to ten rounds.

Shashank Bhujangasana Benefits

  • The practitioner gets the benefits of both Rabbit Pose and Cobra Pose.
  • It is a very good postnatal yoga and contributes to the restructuring of the pregnant belly.
  • Tones up the Pelvis region.
  • Also, it regulates the menstrual cycle. Hence it is a very good yoga exercise for women.
  • It burns excess calories and helps in weight management.

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