Bow Pose  -Dhanurasana

Step by step

  • Lie on your belly, with your hands by your side, palms facing up
  • Bend your knees and take hold of your ankles with your hands
  • Press your pubic bone down, draw your lower belly in and up
  • On an inhalation, press your ankles in your hands, lifting your chest and thighs
  • Slide your shoulder blades down and towards each other to open your chest
  • Stay for a few breaths, breathing into your chest and ribs
  • On an exhalation, release your ankles, and gently lie down on your belly for a few breaths.

Beginners tip

  • Place a folded blanket under your pelvis to avoid your hip bones pressing into the floor
  • Try using a strap around your ankles if you have trouble lifting from the ground
  • Try the pose in stages by only lifting your chest up, leaving your thighs and knees on the floor
  • Make sure you have warmed up your spine before trying this pose - use lower backbends such as Cobra and Locust first.

Benefits

  • Strengthens the back
  • Opens the chest and shoulders
  • Helps mobility in the front body and hip flexors
  • Energising

Watch out for...

  • Don't let your knees spread wider than hip-width apart
  • Drop your chin towards your chest if you feel tension in the neck
  • Avoid in case of high/low blood pressure, headaches and back injuries

Variations

  • 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.
  • Practise 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 practise Bow Pose lying on your side.