Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

Bow Pose (Sanskrit: Dhanurasana) is a stimulating and energizing back-bending posture. It requires a great deal of spinal, shoulder, chest and groin flexibility; therefore, it is usually done later in a practice once the entire body is thoroughly warmed up.

While Bow Pose does thoroughly stretch the body, it also requires a great deal of strength to perform and hold.

The posture itself resembles a bow and what’s funny is, the body will feel taut, like a bow about to launch an arrow to it’s target.

How to Do Bow Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Lie on your belly, face down into the mat. Press your hip bones into the floor and lift the navel upward to protect the back and activate the core. Bend both knees so the heels come in toward your hips.

Step 2

Reach back with your hands and hold the outside of your feet or ankles. Draw the heels closer to your hips to stretch the quadriceps and prepare for lift off!

(Make sure the knees hug into your midline without splaying open)

Step 3

On an inhalation, begin to lift your chest away from the floor. And as you exhale, kick the feet back and up into the hands. The body will arch off the mat as the toes lift overhead. Continue to hug the knees and toes in toward the center of the body.

Step 4

Keep the collar bones broad and open with the neck long. Shoulders stay down into the back. The quadriceps help by kicking the legs higher. Stay for 5 breaths and release on an exhalation.

Bow Pose Benefits

  • Stretches the back, thighs, groins, chest, and shoulders
  • Strengthens spine extensors
  • Fights fatigue
  • Mood booster
  • Increases lung capacity