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.
- 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.
- Strengthens the back
- Opens the chest and shoulders
- Helps mobility in the front body and hip flexors
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
- 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.