Comprehensive Guide to Bow Pose
The bow pose, also known as Dhanurasana is an intermediate-level yoga asana. In this yoga asana, you lie down on a yoga mat or floor and perform a backbend. The word Dhanurasana is broken into two parts namely Dhanu which means bow and Asana which means posture or pose. This is an excellent yoga asana that helps your body develop a good level of flexibility.
Do you know the bow pose has something in common with Indian mythology? Read further to know.
The Bow & Indian Mythology
The bow has been a source of constant reference in Indian mythology. In the Ramayana, it was Lord Rama who broke Lord Shiva’s bow to marry Sita. The breaking of the bow indicated his divinity.
Similarly, in the Hindu epic The Mahabharata a majority of fights included bow and arrow. Both Arjuna and Karna were adept in the art of using bow and arrow. However, it was Arjuna who surpassed everyone in archery with regular practice and determination.
The Dhanurasana helps you become a complete human being through regular practice and determination. However, before you practice this yoga asana, there are a few prerequisites you should remember.
- Do this asana 4 to 5 hours after having your main meal.
- Practice the Dhanurasana first thing during early morning hours.
- Make sure you are warmed up with all the preparatory poses before doing this yoga asana.
Do you know about the different variations of the bow pose? Read below to know.
Variations of Bow Pose
If practising the regular Dhanurasana has become a bit routine and boring, you can add in a little spin to this daily practice.
Yoga experts recommend that you give the following Bow pose variations a try:
- Traditional Dhanurasana
- Bridge Bow Pose (Dvpada Dhanurasana)
- One-Legged Wheel Pose (Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana)
- Big Toe Bow Pose (Padangusta Dhanurasana)
- Upward-Facing Bow Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
- Standing Bow Pose (Dandayama Dhanurasana)
Yoga professionals recommend that you practice all these variations of bow pose under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher. However, do not push your body beyond what is comfortable, especially if you are a beginner.
Sometimes it is best not to practice the Dhanurasana. Yoga masters from around the world have come up with a few contradictions to this yoga asana.
Contradictions of Dhanurasana
You should avoid practising the Bow pose yoga if you have;
- High blood pressure
- Pain in Lower Back
- Neck Injury
- Headache or Migraine
- Recent abdominal injury
At the same time, there are some major benefits of the daily practice of this yoga pose.
Benefits of Bow Pose
The Dhanurasana offers numerous holistic benefits to you including;
1. Improves Hip Flexors
Daily practice of the bow pose opens up your hip flexors which are mostly unused and weak. This improves circulation, minimizes lower back pain, and increase overall mobility of the area.
2. Strengthens the Upper Back
The bow pose engages all the muscles in your back as you try to grab the ankles. It strengthens your back and improves body posture.
3. Strengthen Spine & Hamstrings
Dhanurasana exercise is quite effective at strengthening your hamstrings and spine. It is what keeps you safe against a lower back injury.
4. Improves Digestion
Dhanurasana exercise gives your stomach and pelvis muscles a gentle massage. It provides a gentle massage to your entire digestive tract. Doing this yoga asana under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher relieves constipation and stomach discomfort.
5. Improves Posture
The bow pose opens your shoulders from the front of the body. It relieves you of tightness which minimizes slouching and improves your overall body posture.
However, to reap all these Bow pose benefits, you should know how to practice this yoga asana with ease.
Bow Pose Steps
- Lie down flat on your stomach. Keep your chin on the mat and both hands by the side. Keep your palms facing up.
- Exhale while bending the knees. Try bringing your heels closer to your buttocks. Keep your knees hip-width apart.
- Lift your hands and grab your ankles. Grab the ankles and not the top part of your feet. Your fingers should be wrapped around the ankles and not the thumb. Keep your toes straight and pointed.
- Inhale. Lift your heels away from the buttocks with a firm hold on your ankles. Now, slowly lift your head, chest, and thighs off the mat.
- Lift, rotate your shoulders safely and comfortably. Your core should touch the mat and the rest of the body should be lifted towards the ceiling.
- Draw your tailbone in to deepen the stretch. You will feel a stretch in your back as all weight and balance is shifted to your core. Keep your chest and shoulders open.
- Look straight ahead and hold this pose for 15 seconds. Keep your focus on proper stretching, breathing, and balancing.
- Exhale and release the pose. Bring your head, chest, thighs, and feet back towards the mat. Release your ankles and return your hands to your side.
- Relax for some time and repeat.
There it is! The guide to learning and practising the Dhanurasana with safety.
The bow pose helps your body gain more flexibility with regular practice. However, you should join a certified yoga school to learn this yoga asana under the tutelage of skilled yoga teachers.