Asana of the Month: Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)


Each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons.

“The pose Dhanurasana extends the body back into the shape of a bow as the arms reach back straight and taut, forming the “string” of the asana. Done properly, Dhanurasana is a superb back strengthener that can help vanquish the postural enemy of rounded shoulders. Arching the body backward opens the chest and provides a powerful stretch for the front of the shoulders and the quadriceps—a wonderful antidote to all the time we spend “crunched” forward in daily life. Regular practice of this pose helps keep the spine flexible and counters the tendency to slump forward.

Ms. Krucoff also reminds us to embrace the qualities of sthira and sukha (typically translated as “steadiness” and “ease”) when practicing Dhanurasana. “If you don’t feel steady and at ease in this pose, or any other, back off to easier versions until you do,” she suggests. “Challenge yourself but don’t strain. You do not have to catch your feet or ankles to gain great benefit …. [R]emember to balance the effort needed to keep your bow taut, with the relaxation necessary to avoid compressing the back. Set your sights on maintaining steadiness and ease as you do your best to achieve your version of the pose. Don’t worry about looking picture perfect. Instead, aim your Bow Pose toward feeling exhilarated and joyous.”

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose):
Dhanu = bow
Benefits:
  • Stretches the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat, and deep hip flexors (psoas)
  • Strengthens the back muscles
  • Improves posture
  • Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck
  • May be therapeutic for mild back aches, respiratory ailments, fatigue, anxiety, menstrual discomfort

Cautions/Contraindications:

  • Lower back or neck injury
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Migraines
Preparatory Poses:
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
  • Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
  • Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog)
  • Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
  • Virasana (Hero’s Pose)
  • Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero’s Pose)

Song that Most Comes to Mind While Moving into the Posture:

Ted Nugent’s: “My Bow and Arrow


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