The Bow Pose or Dhanurasana is called so, as the body attains the shape of a bow (Dhanura) when this pose is performed.
Also known as the Urdhva Chakrasana or Upward Wheel Pose, it is a good back bend pose which is beneficial if performed after doing activities that involve forward bending (cycling, golfing, swimming etc.).
The Bow Pose stretches the entire front side of the body including throat, chest, abdomen, hips, groins and thighs and the ankles. It improves posture and strengthens the back. Bow pose is also known to stimulate the neck muscles and the reproductive organs. It is a good chest opener pose and helps expand chest cavity for Pranayama. Additionally, it tones the legs and arms.
It is an ideal pose to bust stress, fatigue and anxiety & relieves menstrual discomfort and constipation. It acts as a therapy for kidney related disorders. Because this pose opens up the lungs, it is said to relieve respiratory ailments.
Getting into the pose
What you need: Room with fresh air (if you’re doing it inside, otherwise do it in open area), and you.
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Initial Position: Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Drishti or Gaze : Forward, in direction of nose
- Lie on your belly with your hands along the sides and gaze towards the front. Inhale slowly.
- Exhale and bend your knees bringing the heels as close to your hips as you can.
- Reach back and catch hold of your ankles. Make sure you don’t hold the toes or top of your feet and your knees should not be more than hip width apart.
- Inhale on a count of 3 and lift up your heels (away from your hips). Simultaneously, lift the thighs away from the floor. While doing these two actions, firmly press your shoulder blades against the back and gaze forward.
- One may experience difficulty in breathing, so be careful to inhale to a count of 1-2-3 and exhale the same way too.
- Hold the pose for a couple of breaths, till you are comfortable and release as you exhale. Repeat it thrice along with other yoga poses.
Rest in Child’s pose if you feel exerted.
- Parsva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose): Perform the bow pose as stated above and then dip your left shoulder towards the ground, as you exhale. Tug your right foot to the left and roll onto your left side. You can try this without holding your ankles. Repeat the same with the other side.
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
- Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
- Reclining Hero Pose (Supta Virasana)
If lifting the thighs up the floor seems difficult then use a rolled-up blanket or towel beneath the knees for support.
- Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
- Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
- Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana)
- Pregnant ladies should avoid practising this pose.
- Patients of high or low B.P., hernia or migraine should not practise Bow pose.
- This pose is also not advisable for those with a neck injury or who have had an abdominal surgery recently.
Also practice: A yoga pose with similar name but with different benefits – Archer’s Pose (Akarna Dhanurasana)
Last updated: July 4th, 2014
Next update: Sept 4th, 2014