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Bow Yoga Pose – Dhanurasana

Bow Pose or Dhanurasana

Dhanurasana

[don-your-AHS-anna]

Dhanura means bow. The bow has a special place in religion, symbolism, and imagery. In East Indian philosophy, the God of love (Kama) aims his bow at the heart in order to inspire love and secure the continuation of life. It is Kama’s bow (covered in flowers and colourful ribbons), not Kama himself, that has magical powers.

Benefits of Bow Pose

  • Stretches the hip flexors.
  • Strengthens the back side of the body while it stretches the front.
  • Builds digestive fire.

Contraindications

  • This pose should be modified to a side-lying pose during pregnancy.
  • People suffering from high blood pressure or heart disease may need to avoid this pose.
  • Modifications are recommended for people who suffer from back pain.

Step-by-Step

  • Lie prone. Breathe into your belly and notice the connection between the front side of your body and the earth.
  • Feel the pelvic floor lift up into Mulabandha and create a hollow under your ribs by engaging Uddiyanabandha.
  • Use these Bandhas to protect your lower back as you reach out through your toes, lengthening your feet away from the crown of your head.
  • Bend one knee and then the other.
  • Take your ankles in your hands.
  • Allow your arms to lift your torso gently from the earth.
  • Press down through the pubic bone and use this as a base of support for lifting your thighs from the earth and stretching the front side of the body further.
  • Feel your breastbone reach forward each time you inhale.
  • Bring the neck in line with the rest of the spine.
  • Lengthen the crown of your head away from your toes.
  • Use your pelvis as your main point of balance.
  • Feel your shoulder blades slide down into your back pockets as your lower trapezius muscles engage.
  • Gently release one foot and then the other on your next exhale. Release your body slowly onto the mat.

Preparatory Poses

Counter Poses

a variation on bow pose