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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.
- Begin with lying down on your belly with your hands on either side of your torso and palms facing upwards.
- Keep both legs a bit apart. Relax your whole body.
- Now while exhaling, bend your knees and bring your heels as close to your buttocks as possible.
- Now, slowly fold your knees up and hold your ankles with your hands.
- Then raise your chin and then bend your head and neck backwards. The chest should still be touching the ground. Inhale slowly and pull your legs up.
- Keep raising your head, neck, chin, chest, thighs and knees backwards, such that only the navel region is touching the ground. Balance your body on the navel region.
- Hold your breath and maintain this posture until you feel the strain in your back.
- Remain in this position for 20-30 seconds. Then slowly go back to the original position, lying quietly for a few breaths.
Technique in pictures/animation
- Effective in weight loss, improves digestion and appetite.
- Helps to cure dyspepsia (obesity), rheumatism and gastrointestinal problems, cures constipation.
- Improves blood circulation, gives flexibility to the back, strengthens back muscles.
- Improve the function of liver, pancreas, small intestine and big intestine.
- Act as a stress reliever, strengthens ankles, thighs, groins, chest, and abdominal organs.
- Cure menstruation disorder, improve function of kidney and liver.
- It improves posture, releases back pain, cures respiratory disorder like asthama.
- Helpful is stimulating reproductive organs.
- Improve function of the pancreas and it is beneficial in diabetes.
- Supta Virasana
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
- Setu Bandhasana
These are some points of caution you must keep in mind before you do this asana.
- This asana should not be practiced if you suffer from a hernia, high or low blood pressure, pain in the lower back, migraines, headaches, neck injuries, or if you have had an abdominal surgery recently.
- Women should avoid this asana during pregnancy.
Initial practice notes
When you start off, as a beginner, it might be difficult to lift your thighs off the floor. You can roll up a blanket and place it beneath your thighs to give them support to pull up.
This is one of the Asanas prescribed in Hatha Yoga Pradipika.