The Dhanurasana or the Bow Pose is one of the poses practiced during Hatha yoga. Since it is included in the basic stretching exercises, the pose strengthens the back and enhances the flexibility of the entire body.
In Sanskrit, the word ‘Dhanurasana’ can be broken down into ‘Dhanur’ (meaning bow) and ‘asana’ (meaning pose). So, as you read ahead, you could check out the steps along with the health benefits.
What Should you do Before Getting into the Pose?
Before you start off, you should always keep your stomach empty. In case you need to boost the energy level, then you can have your meal four to six hours before performing the asana. This tip would offer sufficient energy and help you expand the body soon after the food gets digested.
It’s always better to practice the asana early in the morning. In case you are busy in the morning, then it’s completely fine to practice the asana in the evening.
Once you have set aside some minutes to get into the pose, you need to settle down in a well ventilated room. Make sure you use a mat as you relax and rest your body. If you are doing the asana for the first time, then you should do under the guidance of a yoga expert.
Steps you Need to Follow for Bow Pose Yoga
Step 1: Initially, you need to lie flat on your stomach, keep your arms sideways and your feet slightly apart.
Step 2: Now, you need to fold the knees as much as you can and try holding the ankles with your arms.
Step 3: As you start lifting your chest and legs off the floor, you need to take a deep breath. Afterwards, you should always pull your legs in the backward direction.
Step 4: Later, you need to look forward and keep your head straight. Make sure that you don’t think about anything but focus on performing the steps.
Step 5: As you hold the pose for some time, you should concentrate on breathing. You should be able to form a bow with your body. Regular practice of the asana would help you accomplish the step.
Step 6: Soon after a lapse of 15 to 20 seconds, you need to release yourself and relax.
Advanced Pose Variations
To enhance the stretch exercise, you need to perform the Parsva Dhanurasana. For getting into the pose, you need to exhale and rest your shoulder on one side of the mat. Later, you need to tug the foot towards the opposite side and roll over on that side. In the end, you need to hold your ankles as you usually do in Dhaurasana.
Urdha Dhanurasana is yet another variation you can try. Apart from strengthening the spine, the pose aids to make the arms, abdomen and legs strong.
As you proceed with the asana, you need to lie flat on your back. Now, you need to bend your knees and rest the soles on the floor. Later, you have to bend your knees and rest your palms on the floor.
Now, you need to gradually lift your hips along with the upper body to form an arch. Once you attain the step, always try to keep your thighs and inner feet parallel to the floor.
Afterwards, turn the upper arms outwards, spread the shoulder blades, and sustain the weight on your fingers and the palms. In the end, you need to hold the pose for around 5 seconds or more.
When you are able to accomplish the intermediate level, you can get into the Akarna Dhanurasana. As you sit on the floor, ensure that you keep your head, shoulders and back straight. As soon as you breathe deeply, you can place your palms on the thighs.
Now, you need to slide the right hand to the right foot and hold the toe.
Afterwards, you need to lift the left leg and try holding it in the air. Once you have held the position for a minute, you should exhale, bring the right leg down, and release your hand.
For perceiving the results, it’s better to practice the pose twice for each leg.
Preparatory and Follow-up Poses
Before practicing the bow pose, it’s essential to perform the preparatory poses. These include the Bhujangasana, Salabhasana, Supta Virasana, Virasana, Setu Bandhasana, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, and the Sarvangasana. But, once you release yourself from the pose, you should practice Matsyasana, Urdhva Dhanurasana, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Ustrasana, and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana.
Bow Pose Benefits
There are many holistic benefits of the bow pose. Every step can actually keep you energetic apart from rejuvenating the body.
Once you start practicing the bow pose regularly, the asana massages the adrenal glands, right above the kidneys. This boost the functionality of the organs, regulates the hormones, adrenaline and cortisol and eventually alleviates stress. Additionally, the pose also improves concentration and helps you to be productive with the day to day tasks.
As the muscles around the back, arms, legs, and abdomen are strengthened, the asana also makes the spine strong. Besides, the pose tones the muscles, and improves posture as well as the balance. The steps aid in stretching the chest, arms, abdomen, thighs, ankles, and the throat.
As the bow pose stimulates the thymus and the thyroid glands, it helps to lose body weight. The pose can be extremely beneficial to diabetic patients because it tones the pancreas, and regulates the sugar level in the bloodstream.
Helps for Digestion
Since the Dhanurasana massages the intestines, liver, spleen, and the kidneys, it also helps to digest food effectively and prevent the chances of constipation. The stomach also becomes tight while the blood flow is enhanced to a certain extent.
Stimulates the Manipura Chakra
The bow pose stimulates the solar plexus which is nothing but a complex part of the sympathetic nervous system. While the Manipura chakra becomes active, the pose increases confidence and the willpower to achieve goals. Over a period of time, the individual would be able to take decisions and control himself in every situation.
Good for the Hips & Chest
Dhanurasana helps in opening up the hip-flexors and energize the entire body. Regular practice of the pose can help the person to come up with new ideas, and introspect himself. Furthermore, the asana opens up the chest and improves the inhalation and exhalation of air.
Finally, if you are suffering from hypertension, hernia, or pain around the lower back, then it’s recommended not to do the asana. You should never get into the pose if you have undergone an abdominal surgery.