Hatha Yoga

    The Bow - Dhanurasana

    bow

    Introduction

    Dhanurasana, the bow pose, is eighth in the sequence of 12 basic postures of hatha yoga. It is also the third, and last, of the three back-strengthening exercises included in a normal hatha yoga class. The main benefit of the bow is to give a full backward bend to the entire length of the spine, building both strength and flexibility in the back, bending the back in the opposite direction of the seated forward bend. Like the other back-strengthening exercises, the resting posture before the bow is done by laying on the stomach instead of the back.

    Physical Benefits

    Energetic (Pranic) Benefits

    Mental Benefits

    Technique

    resting posture before bow

    Before beginning the bow posture, lay on the stomach. With your hands make a pillow under your head and rest one cheek on your hands. The toes should touch together with the heels falling away from each other. Feel the floor supporting the whole length of the body, relaxing into the floor as much as possible. Between each of the back-strengthening exercises, be sure to alternate the side of your head resting on your hands so that both sides of your neck receive an equal relaxation.

    Contra-indications

    Do not practice dhanurasana if you are pregnant.

    Advanced Variation

    Once the normal bow posture is mastered and you have sufficient shoulder and back flexibility, you can try a more advanced variation.

    advanced bow

    Hold onto the toes with the hands, and rotate the shoulders toward the face, with the hands behind the head as pictured. Try to arch the back as much as possible.

    The bow is part of the basic yoga class.

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