Bow Pose / Dhanurasana
Step by step
- Lie on your stomach with your hands by your torso, palms up.
- Exhale and bend your knees, bringing your feet as close as you can to your buttocks and grab the ankles with your hands.
- Inhale press the pubic bone down, pull the belly in and push the ankles against the hands as you pull with the arms. Lifting the thighs and the chest.
- Press your shoulder blades into your back to open the heart.
- Stay here for a few breaths, breathing into your back body (this position can make it quite difficult to breathe fully).
- On an exhale release your arms, core engaged and come gently lying in a prone position. Lie quietly for a few breaths.
- Try the pose in stages by leaving your thighs and knees on the floor and only lifting your chest up.
- You can loop straps or belts around the feet to help you reach towards them.
- Make sure you have warmed up your back fully before trying this pose - use lower backbends such as Cobra and Locust first.
- Strengthens the back
- Opens the chest
- Helps stretch the front body
- Helps ease anxiety
- Stimulates organs
Watch out for...
- Make sure that your knees are not wider than the width of your hips.
- If you feel tension in your neck, drop your chin towards your chest.
- If you have blood pressure issues, recurring headaches or back injury this pose should be avoided.
- If you can't reach your ankles, use straps - looping them around your ankles.
- You can place a rolled blanket under your thighs if you are finding it difficult to transition to the full expression of this pose. The support will help you get used to the sensation of lifting your thighs away from the floor.
- To deepen this pose, keep your knees and feet closer together, or take hold of the inside of the ankles for an extra stretch on the shoulders and upper back.
- Use your back and abdominal muscles to rock forwards and backwards in this pose. You may need to place a folded blanket under your hips for extra padding.
- Practice one-sided versions of Bow Pose by extending the right leg back, resting on your right forearm while taking the left ankle with the left hand.
- You can also practice Bow Pose lying on your side.
- Complementary poses
- Try it in class