Yoga Poses

Bow Pose /Dhanurasana

Steps

Begin lying prone with the arms extended to the sides of the body, the legs hip distance apart, and the forehead on the ground. Bend the knees towards the buttocks and place the hands around the outside of the ankles. Inhale to begin pressing the feet into the palms until both sides of the chest draw up off the floor. Reach through the top of the head. The body should look like an archers bow. To release from this pose, lower the chest and quietly return the legs to the floor

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Imagine the torso as a cylinder. The ribcage floats on top of the pelvis. As the spine moves into extension, the posterior ribcage pulls back and the front of the ribcage moves down, drawing a line from the top of the hips to the bottom of the ribcage on the front and backside of the body. The whole cylinder moves together.

Technical Comments

Maintain the integrity of the spine by thinking about the upper thighbones moving towards the backspace of the body, slightly dropping the tailbone down, and engaging the lower belly. This action will support the lower back from the front side of the body. Even while the body is lifting into an arch keep some connection from the lowest rib to the top of the hip crest. Make sure there are no wrinkles in the back of the neck as the gaze lifts up.

Benefit Comments

  • Tones the muscles of the back and maintains flexibility of the spine.
  • Opens the entire front side of the body- ankles, thighs, hip flexors- psoas, abdomen, chest, and throat.
  • Increases vitality and counteracts fatigue.
  • Stimulates the digestive tract and reproductive organs.
  • Aids in Constipation.

Watch Out For:

  • Jamming the neck by lifting the head too high.
  • Straining the lower back by bending mostly in the lumbar spine. Examine the body from the side view and look for a continuous curve from the lower back to the top of the head. Notice the curvature in the thoracic region. Look for a widening across the collarbones.
  • Popping the ribcage and breaking the connection in the front of the body between the ribs and hips.
  • Knees pulling apart, abducting the legs and taking the body out of alignment while torquing the knee.
  • Shoulders rolling forward.

Contraindications

  • Lower back or neck injury.
  • Serious knee injury.
  • Pregnancy

Modifications

Use a yoga strap around the ankles if students can’t reach with their hands. Bend one knee at a time, leaving one side of the body on the floor while the other side lifts. Alternate sides.

Variations

  • Place the hands on the inside of the ankle for a greater expansion across the chest.
  • Rocking Bow: In Bow pose, begin to use the breath to rock the body backwards and forwards. This is a great massage for the internal organs, while challenging the back muscles.
  • Parsva Dhanurasana – Side Bow: From Bow pose, bring the right shoulder towards the floor, pulling the legs with the arms to roll over the hipbones and onto the right side of the body. Stay on the right side for a few breaths, then with an exhalation, roll onto the tummy again and through to the left side. Stay to breath. Finally, roll back to center to release the posture.

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Child´s Pose
  • Seated Forward Bend
  • Standing Forward Bend
  • Corpse Pose

Written By: Meghan Aris

Certified in several disciplines of yoga, a pilates teacher and teacher trainer, Meghan is continually widening her path of body/mind studies. At a young age she began her journey into body movement through dance. After being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, she shifted her practice to more rehabilitative yoga. In this discipline she found not only the resources to heal her body, but also a guide to living a life full of peace and joy. She can be found teaching on any given day at The Space Vancouver.

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