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Yoga Poses: Archer’s Pose (Akarna Dhanurasana)

Resources, Yoga

Yoga Poses: Archer’s Pose (Akarna Dhanurasana)

Steps, Benefits and Beginner Tips
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Akarna Dhanurasana, basically translates to Toward-the-ear-bow pose, but is better described as the Archer’s pose resembling an archer ready to release his bow. It is a seated pose which greatly strengthens your arms and torso while sculpting abs. It is very helpful for dancers and athletes who requires higher hip mobility, flexibility and range of motion.

Benefits of Archer’s pose

The pose is highly effective in improving seated balance and adding grace to the stride. While improving core strength, it also provide relief in constipation. Practising it regularly will gift you an athletic strong built. However, it must be avoided in hamstring injuries as the pose stretches hamstrings and might worsen your condition.

Getting in the pose

What you need: Room with fresh air (if you’re doing it inside, otherwise do it in open area), a yoga mat and you.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Initial Position: Sit on the mat with back straight, legs stretched out in front and palms residing on knees.

Gaze: While performing this pose, concentrate your gaze in front in line of your stretched out toe.

Steps:

  1. Inhale and gradually bend forward to grab your toes with both hands in a Paschimottanasana. Ensure not to bend your back. Keep it straight.
  2. Draw your right foot close to your torso while maintaining grip on the left foot.
  3. Gradually, lift your right foot upwards towards your ear and stretch back as much as possible. Your right arm should directly point to the toe with your gaze fixated on toe like an archer eyeing his target.
  4. Hold the position for 15-30 seconds while feeling the stretch in your hamstrings.
  5. Gently exhale and revert to the starting position.
  6. Now, repeat the pose with stretching back the left leg. This will complete one cycle of Archer pose. Do it twice in a practice along with other poses.

An Easier Variation

Due to its origin unknown, there are many variations of Archer’s pose famous. An easier version of the same pose is being shared here below:

  1. Sit on the mat with back straight, legs stretched out in front and palms residing on knees.
  2. Bend right leg to touch the left thigh with the sole of right foot.
  3. As you inhale, bend forward to grab your left hand your left big toe. Keep your other hand rested on the right knee.
  4. Now, lift your right knee to point towards the sky and gradually, hold the big toe with your right hand.
  5. Try to draw your right leg upwards, with knee coming closer to ear, imitating an archer. Your right arm should directly point to the toe with your gaze fixated on toe like an archer eyeing his target.
  6. Hold the position for 15-30 seconds while feeling the stretch in your hamstrings.
  7. Gently exhale and revert to the starting position.
  8. Now, repeat the pose with stretching back the left leg. This will complete one cycle of Archer pose. Do it twice in a practice along with other poses.

If you feel exhausted, lie down in Savasana or Corpse pose to relax.

Important Notes

  • This is a Vinyasa yoga pose and hence, movements must be synchronized with the breath. That way, you strengthen your internal as well as external system simultaneously.
  • The pose should be avoided during menstruation, pregnancy, lumber/hamstring injury and shoulder problems.

Beginner Tip: Beginner’s should not try this pose unless they have mastered all its preparatory poses or you can go for the easier version and see if you are strong enough for it.

Preparatory Poses

Further Reads:

1. How Do I Get Toned Fast and Easy

2. Pranayama – The Beginner’s Guide

3. Yoga Lingo for Dummies – Beginner’s Guide to Jargon Free Yoga

4. Image Credit: Forteyoga

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