The name Dhanurasana refers to the bow-like shape that the body assumes when practicing it. Bows are called dhanu in Sanskrit which is why it is called the Bow Pose in English. Your arms mimic the string of the bow, while your chest and legs represent the bow’s body.
In this pose, you lie on your stomach, pull up your torso and legs, and hold the feet with your hands. Ding this deeply bends your back while opening your chest and strengthens your arms and shoulders as you hold your feet with your arms.
Through this movement, you can increase your spine’s flexibility and strength in your arms, legs, and back.
In addition to strengthening your back, this heart-opening backbend stretches your hamstrings and hip flexors. Expanding your chest and shoulders enhances your posture by making up for the time you spend slumped over a computer.
It also serves as a warm-up position for many challenging and advanced backbend practices.
Let us have a look at the steps to perform the pose and its benefits.
How to Do Dhanurasana(Steps)
- Lie down on your stomach keeping your forehead on the ground and arms beside your body. Spread your legs hip-width apart
- Bend your knees to bring your feet as close to your buttocks as possible. Your toes should be pointed towards you.
- Stretch your arms backward to grab your ankles. Pull up your head and chest so that your arms can be taken towards your feet.
- Pull your legs towards you and upwards while further lifting your torso. Keep your gaze in the front to align your head properly.
- Lengthen your tailbone so that your spine remains flexible and easy to bend.
- If you feel comfortable, you can keep pulling your legs up to deepen the stretch.
- Stay in this pose for at least 3-5 breaths and gently release your legs and torso towards the ground.
- Do not force yourself to stretch your legs for achieving the final pose. If you are only able to lift only your head and chest, keep it that way and gradually increase the lift.
- You can use a strap if your hands are unable to hold the ankle shoulders or your knees are stiff. Loop the strap around the ankles and hold the ends with both hands to bridge the gap.
- To give extra cushion to your pelvis and abdomen, place a folded blanket before your lie down to practice.
- Make sure your head is kept in a natural position rather than tilting it back or hanging it.
- There is a tendency for the body to automatically hold its breath. Make sure you have a continuous flow of breath for as long as you are performing this pose.
- Patients suffering from hernia, appendicitis, and severe sciatica should not perform this pose.
- If you suffer from Spondylitis, insomnia, migraine, or headache, you should proceed with extreme caution or avoid practicing this pose altogether.
- If you have any heart condition and suffer from high or low blood pressure, it is better to avoid practicing this pose or consult your teacher and doctor beforehand.
- People who have a recent injury or have undergone surgery on the lower back, core, thighs, knees, and shoulders should avoid this asana.
- Do not perform this pose if you are pregnant or menstruating.
Benefits of Dhanurasana
Practicing dhanurasana can be beneficial to people who want to get rid of lower back pain. It massages your abdominal organs which improves their functions. Women can especially benefit from it by reducing their menstrual pain. This pose is great to open your chest while strengthening and toning the arm and leg muscles.
Below are some of the benefits of this pose.
- Stretches and strengthens the spine and back muscles
- Improves the range of motion and flexibility of the knees and shoulders
- Stretches the thigh muscles, especially the quadriceps
- Improves posture and balance
- Tones the arms and leg muscles
- Opens and expands the chest improving lung capacity
- Improves the metabolic and digestive functions
- Enhances the functions of kidneys, liver, and other abdominal organs
- Aid in alleviating menstrual and reproductive disorders
- Reduces the fat around the tummy by burning calories
- Can cure lower back pain
- Fights off weariness, stress, and anxiety
- Gives you more energy, focus, and stamina.