Bow / Dhanurasana

The Bow is the eighth posture, the last backbending posture in the series after the Cobra and Locust. It completes the basic back bending series providing a full bend to all parts of the back. Simultaneously this asana stretches the front of the body: neck, legs, arms and shoulders.

Benefits:

  • Gives a full backward bend to the entire spine
  • Massages the back muscles and relieves rheumatism in legs, knee joints and hands
  • Massages and invigorates the internal organs, and helps remove constipation
  • Helps regulate the pancreas, especially good for people with diabetes
  • Massages the female reproductive system
  • Opens the chest and relieves respiratory problems
  • Fills the body with energy and vitality!

Instructions:

1. Lay on the abdomen with the forehead on the ground.

2. Bend the knees and take hold of the ankles, wrapping the thumbs around. Do not hold the tops of the feet.

3. Inhale, raise the head, chest and thighs off the ground, arch the back as much as possible, arms straight.

4. Hold up to 30 seconds, breathing deeply. Try to straighten the knees and lift the chest.

5. Try the Rocking Bow. Breathe deeply into the abdomen, allowing it to rock you back and forth, massaging the abdominal organs.

6. Exhale, release the pose.

7. Place the hands under the shoulders, and push back into Child’s Pose. Relax.

Tips:

  • In the beginning separate the legs about hip width apart to allow yourself to come up more easily.
  • Try and bring the knees and shoulders roughly level and rest on the abdomen.
  • If you cannot reach both ankles at the same time, practice the half bow, alternating which ankle you hold until you gain enough flexibility for the full posture.
  • As you advance your practice, try and bring the knees closer together.

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