Dhanurasana - Bow Pose

Bow Pose is an intensive pose which is held maximum 10-20 seconds for beginners. This exercise improves the flexibility of the spine as well as the strength of the spine, the legs and the arms. It also helps to reduce excess belly fat.

Dhanurasana Bow Pose

Category 

Backbend

Chakra  

 Manipura/Solar Plexus Chakra

Meaning

In Sanskrit, dhanu means bow.

Benefits of Bow Pose

Regular practice steadily and comfortably within a balanced yoga asana program:
  • Stimulates the Solar Plexus Chakra and therefore stimulates and balances the functions of your stomach, gallbladder, liver, spleen, and pancreas, tones all digestive organs and improves digestion, through abdominal pressure
  • Produces bodily heat and increases digestive fire
  • Tones, strengthens, and massages your lower-back muscles and therefore acts as a remedy to chronic lower back pain
  • Stretches and lengthens your abdominal muscles, psoas, and quadriceps
  • Relieves hunchback and improves overall posture
  • Opens your chest, stretches your intercostals, and therefore increases lung capacity and efficiency
  • Increases mobility in your shoulder joints
  • Improves rheumatism of your hips, knee joints, and hands
  • Compresses your entire spine and rejuvenates your intervertebral discs and your central nervous system
  • Stimulates reproductive organs, providing relief for women who regularly suffer from menstrual cramps
  • Releases tension in shoulders and neck and therefore is beneficial for those suffering from tension headaches
  • Helps to combat stress, anxiety, and fatigue
  • Increases vitality, concentration, and willpower.

Instructions for Bow Pose


How to come into the pose

  1. Lie down on your abdomen, with your forehead on the floor, knees shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your knees and hold the ankles from the outside, with elbows straight.
  3. Breathe in, push your feet into your hands, lift your chest and knees, and look diagonally upward.

Coming out of the pose

  1. Breathe out and gently lower your chest and knees to the floor. Then release the grip on your ankles and lie down in Crocodile Pose.

Alignment Cues for Bow Pose

  • Elbows are straight. Use the opposing force of your feet kicking against your hands to lift yourself higher up.
  • Aim to keep your weight on your abdomen and bring your chest and knees into one line parallel to the floor.
  • Keep your neck extended from your spine. If flexibility allows, look diagonally upward, otherwise gaze forward.

Duration of Hold

  • Beginners: 10–20 seconds
  • Intermediate: 20–40 seconds
  • Advanced: 40 seconds–1 minute

Modifications

  • If you have difficulties holding on to both ankles, you can practice Half Bow Pose, as explained in the variations section further on in the book.

Cautions and Contra-indications

  • Abdominal issues (e.g. diarrhoea, ulcer, menstrual pains, recent surgery)
  • Shoulder issues
  • Knee issues
  • Cardiovascular issues

Relevant Poses

Rest in Crocodile Pose and then move on to Easy Crow Pose - Sukha Kakasana.

For more yoga asanas and exercises, make sure to visit Arhanta Yoga Asana Guide!