Pose Directory > STANDING

Full Bow Pose

Padangustha Dhanurasana



Full bow pose is a deep backbend that opens the heart, stretches the hips and massages the lymphatic system. Half Bow pose is also known as big Toe Bow pose, as the hand grip is around the big toes, not the ankles. Full Bow pose is popular with Pilates instructors and back specialists, for its posture improving benefits, reducing round shoulders and improving curvature of the spine.

Begin on the belly, with forearms on the on the mat in front of you. Release the pelvis into the mat and square the hip bones. Bend the right knee. Reach the right arm overhead and back to grab the big toe, working your fingers around all five toes. Bend the left leg and reach overhead and back to grab the left toes. Arch the back, squeeze the elbows in around the head and press the legs back.

To exit the pose, release one foot and then the other. Press back into child’s pose.



Imagine pushing the floor away using just your belly muscles. Breath more into the back lungs.


To lift legs off the mat, inhale and press the legs away from the buttocks. At the same time, pull on the toes, lifting thighs higher. Press the shoulder blades against the back and draw the shoulders away from the ears. In the final position, the head is tilted back, the back is relaxed, with the thighs off the mat. The entire body is supported by the abdomen muscles pressing into the floor.

  • Strengthens back and leg muscles
  • Realigns spinal column,
  • Stimulates spinal nerves, stretching back ligaments and muscles
  • Improves posture
  • Improves flexibility of back, shoulders, and hips
  • Massages liver, abdominal organs, pancreas and adrenal glands
  • Relieves gastrointestinal disorders
  • Full bow pose should not be practiced on a full stomach
  • Discomfort lying on belly – place blanket under pelvis
  • Stiffness in shoulders and legs – see modifications
  • Heart ailments
  • High blood pressure
  • Hernia
  • Colitis
  • Ulcers
  • Use straps to lasso feet
  • Grasp ankles and/or leave thighs on floor
  • Place bolster/blanket underbelly
  • Place toes on head crown or forehead
  • Place toes on shoulders
  • Cross ankles and hold toes
  • One leg hold
  • Child pose
  • Knees to chest
  • Happy baby
  • Seated forward bend
  • Forward lying savasana

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet is a RYT 200 yoga teacher and journalist. More information about Brenda can be found at https://www.facebook.com/brendahamletyoga


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