Dhanurasana (DAG-no-RAH-such-uh) is an excellent back bending yoga pose for increasing and regaining spinal strength and flexibility. It invigorates the internal organs, especially the digestive organs, therefore removing constipation. It also stimulates the adrenal glands and the sympathetic nervous system. This pose expands the chest and strengthens the lungs, making it a good pose for those with asthma and respiratory problems. Dhanurasana also strengthens the leg muscles, especially the upper thighs, relieves stiff shoulders and reduces excess weight around the abdominal area. This pose is recommended for those with diabetes, incontinence and menstrual disorder.
This asana gives strength to the mind. Generally we have less awareness of the back body; this asana gives us courage and strength to move towards the unknown. In the Epic Ramayana Lord Shiva had made a very strong bow and gifted it to Erika then to Sage Jamaican then to Lord Paramaribo and then to King Jan aka. The bow was so heavy that it needed 300 men to carry it.
King Janacek daughter was playing with a ball that fell into the box where the bow was kept. Princess Sita lifted the bow single handily, and on seeing this scene, King Jan aka decided to give his daughter to a prince who could break the bow.
The Sage Vishwamithra took Rama and Lakshmi to the palace of King Jan aka for a special fire ceremony (yawn). The bow was exhibited in the ceremony. King Jan aka while narrating the history of the bow, made an offer saying that his daughter Princess Sita will be given in marriage to anyone who could break the bow.
Now, King Jan aka said to Vishwamithra to call his young students to see the bow and to try to string the bow and get his daughter’s hand in marriage. Some princes tried but failed even to lift the bow. Then Sage Viswamithra signaled Lord Rama, and Rama used only one hand and broke the bow into two pieces. Everyone clapped and flowers came from heaven.
Sita was very strong and could lift the bow of Lord Shiva, but the prince would need to be stronger than her to break the bow. From this story the bow represents strength and the ability to go out of our comfort zone to reach the heights of our yoga practice. Lord Rama represents our determination and Princess Sita represents the gift of calmness when we put efforts into our practice.
Avoid this pose when you have a headache or migraine. Women who are menstruating or pregnant should avoid this pose. Those with neck injuries or pain should keep the head up right. This pose should not be done when suffering from any stomach ulcer or diarrhea. Make sure students continue normal breathing and do not hold their breath in this pose as this can result in heaviness in the head. Keep the legs and arms firm to avoid any load bearing directly on the spine.
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose): Step-by-Step Instructions
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.
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.ADVERTISEMENT
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.
How To Do The Dhanurasana And What Are Its Benefits
Dhanurasana or the Bow Pose is one of the 12 basic Hatha Yoga poses. It is also one of the three main back stretching exercises. It gives the entire back a good stretch, thus imparting flexibility as well as strength to the back.
Everything You Need To Know About The Dhanurasana
- What You Should Know Before You Do This Asana
- How To Do The Dhanurasana
- Precautions And Contraindications
- Beginner’s Tips
- Advanced Pose Variations
- The Benefits Of The Bow Pose
- The Science Behind The Dhanurasana
- Preparatory Poses
- Follow-Up Poses
What You Should Know Before You Do This Asana
You must make sure to keep your stomach and bowels empty before you practice this asana. Have your meals at least four to six hours before you do the asana so that your food gets digested, and there is enough energy for you to expand during the practice.
It is best to practice yoga first thing in the morning. But in the event you cannot work out in the morning, it is alright to practice it in the evening.
It’s a proven fact the more you nurture your body, the healthier your mind is. Physical fitness increases the supply of oxygen to the brain, enhances the production of feel-good endorphins in the mind, and promotes healthy organs. For this very reason, it is no surprise that people with robust physical body enjoy a higher level of mental agility and calmness.
The miraculous science of yoga endows the human race with strong, lean body, and a peaceful, healthy mind. The techniques of meditation and pranayama balance the body and soul and free the mind from all the mental chatter.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) is one of the yoga postures avowed to be beneficial for the whole being. Bow pose is a favorite yoga asana of many religious yoga practitioners as it amazingly builds strength, enhances flexibility, opens the heart, and massages the internal organs. Dhanurasana is a must-try yoga posture.
Here is a list of top 10 healing benefits of bow pose. Patiently read on the rewards:
1. Massages the Digestive System: When you delve and breathe in a bow pose, you encourage gentle massaging of the internal organs, especially the digestive system. It facilitates digestion, removes stuck material through the digestive tract and makes you feel light and robust in the gut. Gently relax downwards while exhaling and move in the curve while inhaling for the best self- massaging technique.
2. Strengthens the Back: We hunch all day long that gives rise to tight chest muscles and a weak upper back. The practice of bow pose with attention to details and care strengthens the upper back mitigating a backache and neck pain. Try to balance the dhanurasana between your engaged legs and engaged upper back to correct hyper-openness in your back.
3. Opens Hips: The performance of bow pose to open up the hip-flexors is a great choice. A regular practice of this posture opens up both the hips and creates an energetic shift. The yogic lore holds that the hips are a storing ground of negative feelings and pent-up emotions. The opening of hips creates space for new ideas, unique expression, and freedom to explore our own body.
4. Stretches the Chest: Several complain about tight chest along with tight shoulders. Thankfully, we have bow pose. The dhanurasana opens the body all the way from the tips of the shoulder down to the hips benefiting the chest. As your chest reaps the rewards of this opening posture, you shall notice an ease in breathing.
5. Relaxes the Shoulders: If you are struggling with tense shoulders then make bow pose your favorite exercise to do. Bow pose effectively reverses the negative effects of a forward movement and slouched stance. It powerfully relaxes and opens the shoulders.
6. Stress Reliever: Toss the pills and perform bow pose to reduce stress, worries, and tensions. Dhanurasana is the best stress reliever that calms the mind and helps you live moments of peace and serenity.
7. Effective in Weight Loss: Dhanurasana is a potent tool for losing weight in a natural manner. Practice this yoga asana regularly and grant yourself the ideal body weight and shape. The dhanurasana stretches the abdominal muscles and help shed extra fat from the body.
8. Energizes the Body: Bow pose is an effective technique to fight lethargy and to energize the body. It directly works on the solar plexus at the navel region and stimulates the functioning of vital internal organs.
9. Treats Diabetes: The Dhanurasana tones the pancreas and stimulates their functioning helping them produce the correct amount of glucagon and insulin that controls the blood sugar levels. In this way, Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes is benefited.
10. Enhances Blood Circulation: The bow pose purifies the blood and enhances the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the organs of the body. The increased supply of blood bathes the organs in nutrients and help them function properly resulting in good health.
In addition to these ten health benefits of dhanurasana, bow pose is highly beneficial for the whole being. So, make it a regular habit to perform bow posture and keep your health in good shape.
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) Steps, Health Benefits and Precautions
Dhanurasana is consisted of two words: Dhanu means ‘bow’ and Asana indicates a Yoga pose. Thus the name is ‘the Bow Pose’ because in the final position, the body resembles a bow. In this pose, the abdomen and thigh representing the wooden part of the bow whereas legs lower parts and arms representing the bowstring. This is all about definition of Dhanurasana. This is one of the important Yogic postures, which is known for many health benefits and advantages such as weight loss, strengthening the lower back, treating asthma, making your entire spine flexible and supple and so on. One can get the finest description of Bow Pose from Grandfather Samhita: While lying on the ground, stretch your legs as straight as sticks. Catch hold of your feet with your hands behind the back. Adjust your body so that it takes the shape of a bow. Roll to and fro. This is Dhanurasana according to Yogis. (Verse 1:19)
How to do Bow Pose Yoga
How to perform Dhanurasana is a very simple procedure. The different techniques and steps of doing the Bow pose are being given below:
Steps for Dhanurasana
- First of all lie down in prone position
- Exhale, bend your knees and hold the ankles with hands
- While inhaling raise the thighs, head and chest as high as possible
- Try to maintain weight of the body on lower abdomen. Join the ankles. Look upward and breathe normally.
- While exhaling, bring down the head and legs up to knee joint. Maintain this position as long as you can hold and slowly come back to the original position.
Health benefits of Bow pose
Bow pose is one of the few Yoga poses, which comprising the benefits of two different asanas i.e. Bhujangasna and Shallowness. The following important advantages of Dhanurasana are as follows: