Themed Class Plan: King Cobra

Aim: Work towards King Cobra Posture


Concentrate on: pinching shoulder blades together, back bending, hip flexors, engaging quads, core and butt

Level: Intermediate

Duration: 75 minutes

Introduction (2 mins)

  • Anyone I haven’t met? 
  • Any medical conditions that I need to know about?
  • Introduce the theme of the class – what we are working towards

Pranyama Exercise: Bhastrika (5 mins)

  • Heating & energising
  • Provide a thorough description
  • Demonstrate
  • Provide cues for good technique: majority of movement in the upper body, shoulders relaxed, stomach relaxed, no straining, forceful and even inhale and exhale through the nose, mouse remains shut, chin in line with the ground.
  • Class to do 15 full breaths, break 3 deep breaths in between, 5 rounds

Main Component of the Class (58 mins)

Basic Warm-up

  • Toes to top of head

Sun Salutations

  • Surya Namaskar A x5
  • Surya Namaskar B x3

Exercise One

  • In Samasthitih take 3 deep breaths 
  • Open legs wide to the side of the mat in preparation for Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C & D – hold 5 deep breaths in each
  • Cues for good technique: look up, chin up, chest out, no rounding in the back, fold from the hips, hamstrings relaxed, quads engaged to draw knee caps up, weight on the front of your feet, don’t lean back, spread your sit bones apart, tilt pelvis to the ceiling, fold deeper with every exhale

Exercise Two

  • From previous exercise, come into Samasthitih
  • Come straight into Parsvottanasana – hold 5 breaths on each side
  • Cues for good technique: keep hips square, don’t lock out in the knees, engage quads and draw the kneecaps upwards, squeeze hands together, elbows pulled back, shoulder blades pinched together, roll shoulder heads down and back, squeeze the tummy to stay strong
  • From the second side, release arms, Vinyasa

Third Exercise

  • Hold in Downward Dog for 3 deep breaths
  • Lift the right leg up, 3-legged Dog, lengthen the leg, squeeze from the crease of the butt – hold for 2 deep breaths, keeping the leg up, come forward into plank and pull the right knee into the chest – squeeze and hold for 2 deep breaths
  • Repeat this sequence 5 times on each side
  • Remind students: try to keep hips square in 3-legged Dog and Plank – engage obliques
  • End in Downward Dog, look forward, jump forward and come to standing at the front of the mat

Fourth Exercise

  • Inhale, arms up, Ukatasana – hold for 5 deep breaths 
  • Cues for Ukatasana: tuck your tailbone, back straight, do not have knees forward from your toes, arms up strong beside your eyes
  • Fold forward, jump back Chaturanga, Upward Dog, Downward Dog – hold here for 3 deep breaths
  • Bring right leg up into 3-legged Dog, create height & step right leg through into a high lunge, arms up parallel – hold for 3 deep breaths
  • Pulse from the butt of the right leg x5 – keep low
  • Bring hands down either side of the front leg and come into a plank – hold for 5 deep breaths
  • Bring right leg forward into Pigeon  – hold for 5 deep breaths
  • Cues for Pigeon: try to get your shin in line with the front of the mat (the bigger the angle of your knee, the more intense the stretch), keep the straight leg engaged and squeeze the butt to keep your hips square, shoulders square to the front of the room
  • Come back into Plank, Chaturanga, Upward Dog, Downward Dog – hold for 3 deep breaths
  • Look up, jump forward to the front of the mat and end in Ukatasana
  • Repeat the same sequence on the left side

Fifth Exercise

  • Inhale arms up, exhale fold forward, inhale halfway lift, exhale step one leg back at a time into plank – hold here for 3 breaths
  • Bring right leg into Pigeon and for those who are comfortable, left leg up and hold with both arms, arch head back to touch left toes – Royal Pigeon – hold for 3 deep breaths (allow students to work at their own level i.e. just holding the back leg up)
  • Release and come into plank, Chaturanga, Upward Dog, Downward Dog – hold for 3 deep breaths
  • Look up, jump forward to front of mat, standing
  • Repeat on the left side
  • End in Child’s Pose

Sixth Exercise

  • Come onto your belly
  • Roll shoulder heads back and down, come up into a Baby Cobra – hold for 5 deep breaths
  • Cues for Baby Cobra: squeeze your butt, inner thighs and quads, hold core tight, chin tucked, push chest forward to front of the room, shoulder blades pinched together, minimum weight on arms
  • Come up into Full Cobra – hold tight for 5 deep breaths
  • Clasp hands behind your back and squeeze, bring torso up sticking chest out etc., once ready, squeeze butt, quads and inner thighs tight, lift both legs – hold for 3 breaths
  • Rest for a deep breath
  • Come into Dhanurasana – hold for 5 breaths
  • Rest for 3 deep breaths
  • Finally, come into King Cobra
  • Cues for King Cobra: pinch shoulder blades together very tight and feel a tight squeeze in your upper back, pull up from your hands to arch your back further, drop head back, squeeze butt very tight, point toes, engage hamstrings
  • Release into Child’s Pose

Students may not be able to get their head to touch their toes – this is due to a lack of flexibility and/or strength.  You may choose to help them to touch their toes to head, let go and encourage them to hold it there (see below, adjustment photograph)


Seventh Exercise

  • From Child’s Pose, come into Downward Dog and hold for 5 deep breaths
  • Look forward and jump through to seated position, legs out in front of you
  • Come into Paschimottanasana A, B, C, D – hold for 3 deep breaths in each


  • Lie on your back and come into Shoulder Stand  – hold for 25 full breaths
  • Counterpose – Fish pose variation – hold for 5 deep breaths

Shavasana (7 mins)

  • Guided through the philosophies of Yoga Nidra
  • From toes to crown of the head

Closing (3 min)

  • Inspirational quote
  • 3 Om’s
  • Any questions?

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