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Bow Pose

Dhanurasana

HP_208_Dhanurasana_248.jpg

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

This pose is so called because it looks like an archer's bow, the torso and legs representing the body of the bow, and the arms the string.

(don-your-AHS-anna)
dhanu = bow

Step by Step

Lie on your belly with your hands alongside your torso, palms up. (You can lie on a folded blanket to pad the front of your torso and legs.) Exhale and bend your knees, bringing your heels as close as you can to your buttocks. Reach back with your hands and take hold of your ankles (but not the tops of the feet). Make sure your knees aren't wider than the width of your hips, and keep your knees hip width for the duration of the pose.

Inhale and strongly lift your heels away from your buttocks and, at the same time, lift your thighs away from the floor. This will have the effect of pulling your upper torso and head off the floor. Burrow the tailbone down toward the floor, and keep your back muscles soft. As you continue lifting the heels and thighs higher, press your shoulder blades firmly against your back to open your heart. Draw the tops of the shoulders away from your ears. Gaze forward.

With the belly pressed against the floor, breathing will be difficult. Breathe more into the back of your torso, and be sure not to stop breathing.

Stay in this pose anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds. Release as you exhale, and lie quietly for a few breaths. You can repeat the pose once or twice more.


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Reader Comments

lynn

Are your thighs supposed to be off the ground? I had a yoga teacher tell me that my thighs should stay on the ground. Which is correct?

joe smith

Can this and the full locust pose be done on a bed or does it have to be on a yoga mat?

elizabeth

Rihanna, try doing the pose using a strap. Hold the strap in both hands and pass it behind your back and across the front of your ankles. Adjust the length of the strap by wrapping it around your hands a few times. When you go into the pose your ankles will be pressing against the strap and not against your hands. This can allow you to do the pose with less stress on your knees and less pain.
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