Dhanurasana - Bow Pose

Bow Pose — Dhanurasana

The archer’s bow is a strong symbol in yoga, and Dhanurasana is a strong pose that can help remove anxiety. The bow is used by the warrior, who needs concentration, focus, and courage to win the battle of life. The bow pose also gently massages the internal organs, strengthening the liver and kidneys and relaxing the abdominal area. With the concentration and relaxation of the archer, energetically awake, take aim and feel the inner strength of Dhanurasana.

POSE TYPE
Supine pose

POSE CATEGORY
Back bending
Chest Opening

ORIGIN
Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Gheranda Samhita

SANSKRIT
Dhanurasana
धनुरासन

PRONUNCIATION
don-your-AHS-anna

TRANSLATION
Bow (Dhanu)
Pose (Asana)

Performance

STARTING
Lie on your belly with your hands alongside your torso, palms up.

ENTERING
Bend your knees and reach back with both hands together to take hold of your ankles.
Rise up into the backbend by flexing the feet, lifting the thighs, and pressing the ankles back against the hands.
Avoid splaying the knees. They are no more than hip-width apart.
Broaden the chest, lift the sternum, and allow the head to follow the spinal extension without collapsing the back of the neck.
Press the tailbone down toward the floor, and keep the back muscles soft.
To open the chest more, lift the heels and thighs higher, and press the shoulder blades firmly against the back.
Draw the tops of the shoulders away from the ears, and gaze forward.

RELEASING
Release on an exhale, and lie quietly for a few breaths.

VARIATION
A common variation of this pose is performing it laying on one side (Parsva Dhanurasana). Start from regular Dhanurasana. With an exhalation, dip your right shoulder toward the floor, tug your left foot to the right, and roll over onto your right side. Repeat on the left side.

Effects

PHYSIOLOGICAL
– Stretches thighs, groins, hip flexors (psoas), abdomen, chest, and throat.
– Strengthens the back muscles.
– Stimulates the neck.
– Massages liver, kidneys, and abdominal organs.
– Tones the pancreas and adrenal glands.
– Realigns the spinal column, and stretches the ligaments, muscles and nerves.
– Reduces excess weight in the abdominal area.

ENERGETIC
– Activates the Navel Chakra.

PSYCHOLOGICAL
– Energizes, bestows freshness, and removes fatigue.
– Improves symptoms of anxiety.

Contra-Indications

– Hernia, colitis, peptic or duodenal ulcers.
– High or low blood pressure.
– Weak heart.
– Migraine.
– Insomnia.
– Serious lower-back or neck injury.

Chakra Correlation

Navel Chakra

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