Posture Clinic: Dhanurasana

Dhanurasana – Bow Pose

Dhanurasana, Bow Pose, resembles an archer’s bow, hence the name. It creates a powerful stretch along the front body and an opening at the heart center (anahata chakra), while building strength along the back body. Heart openers like dhanurasana can be invigorating and help to promote courage. Try it using the steps below.

  1. Lie down on your belly with arms alongside your body, palms up.
  2. Bend your knees and reach back for your ankles (if it’s difficult to grab your ankles, wrap a strap around them and hold the strap with both hands, keeping arms extended). Use your inner-thigh strength to draw the knees about hips-width apart.
  3. Inhale and press your heels away from your buttocks and into your hands which will help to lift your head and chest away from the floor. Keep lengthening tailbone down to support your low back as you squeeze your shoulder blades toward each other and slightly down.
  4. Gaze forward and as you continue to breathe see if you can lift your thighs off the floor, creating more opening across the front body. Stay for 5 breaths before very mindfully lowering legs and releasing ankles to rest on your belly. Feel free to come into the pose one more time before making your way to child’s pose as a counter stretch.

Bow Pose Benefits:

  • Stretches chest, abdomen, throat, quadriceps, groins, hip flexors, ankles
  • Strengthens back muscles
  • Stimulates digestion and function of abdominal organs

Bow Pose Cautions:

  • Uncontrolled high or low blood pressure
  • Serious low back or neck injury
  • Insomnia (dhanurasana stimulates adrenal glands and may lead to sleep problems if practiced too late at night)