Dhanurasana: Explore the Benefits and Practices
What is Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)?
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) yoga is one of the 12 basic hatha yoga poses. Also known as Urdva Chakrasana, this asana resembles an archer's bow. In Sanskrit, 'Dhanu' means bow and 'Asana' means posture. This yoga posture is one of the three main back stretching exercises and encourages a powerful stretch along the front of the body and a deep opening at the heart centre, helping you cultivate an attitude of fearlessness and grace.
Dhanurasana pose is a great yoga pose that stretches and stimulates almost all important types of body muscles like arms, shoulders, back, biceps, triceps, core (abs), hamstrings, chest, hips, knees and the neck.
Dhanurasana Yoga: What are the benefits?
From mental health to physical fitness, Dhanurasana yoga benefits are countless. Practicing Dhanurasana pose regularly yields a lot of good results in the body.
- This pose stretches the abdomen and the abdominal organs, and thus stimulates the reproductive organs
- It strengthens the ankles, thighs, groins, chest, shoulders, neck, backbone, and abdominal muscles and makes them flexible
- Practicing Dhanurasana helps you to shed calories and burn your body fat, especially in the belly. It also helps in toning the legs and arm muscles
- It is extremely helpful for reducing fatigue and lethargy. This asana stimulates the nerves in the navel region, which offers better efficiency and improves the kidney and liver functions, digestive system, and reproductive system
- It improves digestion and appetite as well.
- Dhanurasana helps in better blood circulation to the entire body and all organs
- It also helps people with renal (kidney) disorders like Kidney stones, Glomerulonephritis, Polycystic kidney, Urinary tract infections (UTIs), etc.
- Dhanurasana is an excellent asana to cure back pain as it gives a good stretch to the nerves, ligaments and muscles in the back.
- This yoga posture massages the liver and ensures better functioning of all the adjacent organs
- Dhanurasana pose helps in curing asthma
- It is also a great help for menstrual discomfort and constipation
- It cures dyspepsia (obesity), rheumatism and gastrointestinal problems
- It also improves the function of the pancreas and is beneficial in diabetes
Dhanurasana: What are the types?
- It is a back-bending stretching pose, performed in a prone position. This pose is also known as the side bow pose or flank bow pose. This is an intermediate level pose where the body is rolled to sidewards to increase the stretching effect.
- In this asana, the whole body seems to be in a shape like a fully stretched bow, a deep back-bend pose that opens your heart.
How to Perform the Dhanurasana Pose?
The below dhanurasana steps are added by the expert yogis of Govardhan Ecovillage. To know and practice the dhanurasana steps in detail, do sign up for our customized yoga retreat facility.
- Lie flat on your stomach, with hands alongside with torso, palms up, and keep your feet hip-width apart.
- Now, inhale and strongly lift your heels away from your buttocks gently, fold your knees and hold your ankles. Keep feet at a hip-width distance.
- Look straight and keep your face stress-free. Breathing will be difficult with the belly pressed against the floor. Breathe more into the back of your torso, and be sure not to stop breathing.
- Contrate on steady breathing and hold the pose. At this position, your body should be as taut as a bow.
- As you get comfortable in the pose, breathe long and deep and stay in this pose for 20-30 seconds.
- Release the pose as you exhale and lie quietly for a few breaths. You can repeat this exercise a few more times.
If the stretching seems too much for you, you can bring out a few modifications to the pose. After all, too much stretching can cause pain and injury. If you are not able to hold your ankles directly, wrap a strap around the fronts of your ankles and hold the free ends of the strap, keeping your arms fully extended. You can also use a blanket to support the pelvic and lower abdomen if the pressure on the abdominal area is uncomfortable.
What does Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) Breathing mean?
Breathing is considered the most essential tool for any yoga asana. Body flexibility can only be achieved by constant practice of yoga with proper breathing. Here are the most important breathing techniques to master Dhanurasana.
- Before moving to bow pose, when you are practicing Makarasana (Crocodile Pose), breathe a few times to help your spine.
- While inhaling, stretch the arms behind you, hold the bent legs at the ankles and then exhale. Practice breathing normally with your forehead on the floor. Ensure the body is straight with proper alignment to the mat.
- While raising forehead off the floor, take a deep breath, stretch out the upper body, shoulders, chest upwards and backward and hold on to the ankles tight. Again, don't forget the mul-mantra of breathing. At any step, do not forget to breathe.
- Once you're comfortable in the pose, start slow breathing and with every inhalation try to raise the thighs higher with chest and shoulders moving backward.
- The more you practice slow & steady breathing, the more your body will balance. Along with breathing deeply, try and remain in this pose with eyes closed.
- Now while lowering both knees, shoulders and chin, slowly exhale. Then release the ankles and stretch the legs on the floor and relax.
- Lastly, do the Makarasana pose and begin to stretch the entire body back to the floor and relax.
Who Shouldn’t Practice Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)?
As the pose has a strong impact on the abdominal area, there are a few limitations on who should and who shouldn’t practice this pose. Do not practice Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) if you have:
- High or low blood pressure, as this pose makes breathing a little difficult which can lower the blood flow to the brain.
- Neck injury
- Pain in the lower back or back injury
- Headache migraine
- Stomach ulcer
- Recent abdominal surgery
Ladies should avoid practicing this Dhanurasana pose during pregnancy. It is very important to understand the body anatomy and the effect of different yoga postures. Do not practice dhanurasana steps at home if you are a complete beginner in yoga. To know more about the dhanurasana steps and benefits, visit Govardhan Ecovillage
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