How To Do Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) In Yoga + Benefits
Want to improve your posture? How about ease low back pain? Or maybe you're looking to stretch your hips? With bow pose, you can have it all. This backbend has so many benefits, and it's a simple posture to get into. Here's how, as demonstrated by certified yoga instructor Juanina Kocher.
How to do bow pose, dhanurasana:
- Start by lying flat on your stomach.
- Bring the soles of your feet to face the ceiling with feet and knees about hip-width apart. Reach and grab your ankles from the outside.
- Take a deep breath. On the exhale, start to stretch your feet and legs toward the ceiling, opening up the chest.
- Draw your shoulder blades down and back to help open the chest. Gaze forward.
- With every inhale and exhale, stretch a little farther up.
- Hold for 5 to 8 breaths. Slowly release, bringing your thighs back to the mat.
- Repeat 1 or 2 more times if you wish.
Tips & modifications:
- Before getting into bow, perform light backbends like upward-facing dog, locust, and cobra, to prepare.
- Use the leverage of your ankles kicking into the hands to help open up your chest.
- To modify: You can use a folded blanket under your thighs if you're finding it challenging to get your thighs off the floor.
- To make it easier: If you can't reach your ankles, you can use a strap. Simply wrap it around the ankles, grabbing hold of the strap where you can.
- To make it harder: Deepen this posture by bringing your legs and feet closer together.
What are the benefits?
If you have lower back or hip pain, this pose should help. Not only does the backbend strengthen your back muscles, but it allows for an extension of the hip joint, which is normally flexed when we sit all day. Too much flexion in the hip joint can cause lower-back pain.
This pose stretches the entire front side of the body, including your legs, hips, ankles, torso, and of course, your chest. All of that stretching can help improve posture by opening up the chest and strengthening the spine. And if you're into chakras, this is a prime pose for opening up your heart chakra.
Long story short—this is one of those poses that you really don't want to miss. With so much beneficial stretching happening, you're sure to feel nice and loose after a few rounds of this juicy backbend.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.