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Fitness, Health

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose): Benefits, How To & Contraindications

Leah Marie

Dhanurasana is a seated, chest-opening pose that stretches the whole front of your body, from your ankles to your knees, then to your thighs, and finally up to your belly and chest. Your shoulders and neck also get nicely stretched.

Additionally, this asana can have a calming effect on the nerves and has been known to help with asthma and anxiety problems. It also benefits those who suffer from menstrual problems and improves gastrointestinal tract functions which makes this pose good for people with digestive problems.

Practicing yoga exercises stretches the spine nicely and improves your posture. When you lie down on your abdomen, it gently massages all the organs inside your stomach. This makes yoga great for improving gastrointestinal tract functions.

This asana will help remove fatigue and bring your energy back. It will also help strengthen your spine and the front of your body.

If you see that the hip-deep psoas muscles (i.e., the muscles in your groin) are being stretched properly, then you know that you are doing this pose correctly.

The Tree Pose stretches your shoulders and upper back, which improves your breathing. It also helps you feel more grounded.

(Disclaimer: People who have high or low blood pressure, suffer from insomnia, have serious neck and/or backaches, and/or are injured in some other way should avoid doing Dhanurasana.)

Performing Dhanurasana: Step By Step

  1. This pose is done in a prone position, lying on your abdomen, with your feet together, and your chin touching the ground. The starting position for all the prone asana is with your chin on the ground—or, if that’s uncomfortable, then you can put your hands on the ground at your sides, with your shoulders relaxed.
  2. Now, you can enter the asana. Bring your chin forward, then hold the pose for a while before bending both legs. Often, your pelvis will move off the floor when you do this pose. To keep things easier, put a blanket below your abdomen near your pelvic region.
  3. This is a good way to gain contact with your pelvis in your abdomen. This can be done by bending your knees and keeping them on the ground, while staying close to “ground zero” (i.e., where your feet are). For example, when you sit down without putting anything underneath your body, it’s important that your knee bones are resting on the floor. To keep from straining your lower back, you can put a blanket below your pelvis while bending your legs.
  4. When stretching your ankle after touching it, make sure to stretch inward towards yourself and not outward away from yourself. Keeping your feet moving will help with this, as well.
  5. To counteract the force of the impact on your lower back, engage your thighs, legs, and buttocks to absorb some of the force.
  6. Lift up and stretch your toes. Then lift up from your chin and chest, and finally lift your knees while holding this position. Note that it may be difficult to straighten up from your lower back or legs while doing this.
  7. Roll your shoulders outward and open them so that your chest expands. You can also push your knee away from your body while lifting the rest of your leg higher, as if you were pushing it up.
  8. Push your hands upward and away from your body. Don’t bend your arms at your elbows. Often, people bend their elbows, which makes it difficult to raise their arms. Instead, you need to open your shoulders and expand your chest. Then, after keeping your feet moving, let your ankle move away from your body, so it will become easier to lift your chest upward into a pose called “seed,” while setting your hands on the floor underneath your hips.
  9. Often, it looks a little awkward if you only lift your chest. To make it easier, you can lift your legs, too, which will make a nice impact on your lower back, and it’s very good for your belly. When in this position, you’ll feel as if you were balancing on your belly.
  10. Keep practicing this exercise. When you do the asana (i.e., the yoga pose), remember to breathe deeply. To maintain deeper breaths, bring your shoulders down and pinch your chin to your chest. Bend your right leg and press both knees toward each other, while lifting your left arm. Stretch out directly behind you, while reaching with your toes.
  11. Remember to keep breathing. Whenever possible, try to lift higher, then fold for a few breaths. Release your hands and legs. Turn your face to one side and relax your breathing.
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Read more about Half Bow Pose And Its Variations

Doing this asana has a beautiful impact on your abdomen, and it stretches your spine nicely. This Dhanurasana can also be very helpful for the advanced backward-bend asanas.

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