Dhanurāsana (The Bow)
  • Lie on your abdomen with the chin on the floor
  • Keep the legs together and bend the knees
  • Grab hold of your ankles
  • Inhale and lift your head and chest up
  • Lift the legs up at the same time, bringing the feet away from the buttocks
  • Look up and breathe in the pose
  • Stay for 5 breaths

Asana in Depth

Dhanurāsana, also known as the bow pose, is a deep back bend and chest opener. It is a great pose to help in posture correction and prevents rounded shoulders.

Start by lying down on your abdomen. Place the chin on the mat and bend the knees. Grab hold of your ankles. In the final pose, you can keep the knees together. However, you also have an option of keeping the knees apart if you have a stiff back. Inhale and lift your head and chest up. At the same time lift the legs up, by kicking the feet into the hands which then lifts the thighs off of the ground. Direct the weight to the lower abdomen, as you find a balance between lifting up though the chest and lifting up through the legs. Lengthen your spine as much as possible. Look slightly up but be careful not to compress the neck. Focus on the breathe and maintain a steady and deep breathe.
Stay in the pose for 5 to 10 breaths and then on an exhalation come down.

As a variation to this posture you can do single legged bow pose. In this pose, you will keep one side of the body down and only lift the other leg up. This could also be used as a warm-up for the final pose. Another variation is using motion in the pose; you can rock up and down, and from side to side. This gives a gentle massage to the inner organs.

One of the benefits of this posture is that it opens up the chest and builds spinal flexibility. It stretches the front side of the body, including the chest, the abdomen, the hip flexors and thighs. It draws the shoulders back which helps in posture correction. As you are lying on your abdomen, this posture also gives a gentle massage to the inner organs. It is said to help relief constipation.

The contraindications for this pose are back injuries and pregnancy. For back injuries keep the legs wider apart while doing the pose. If you are pregnant it is recommended to avoid this pose, and do cat and cow instead.

Major Benefits
  • Strengthens the arms
  • Strengthens the back
  • Massages inner organs
Contra Indications
  • Back injuries
  • Pregnancy
Anatomy Basics
  • Tones adductor magnus
  • Tones gluteus maximus
  • Tones spinal extensors
  • Stretches hipflexors
  • Stretches pectoralis major
  • Stretches pectoralis major