This week’s Asana: Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Considered a pretty intense back bend, dhanurasana has many benefits worth your time. It opens the chest and shoulders, strengthens quads, stretches hip flexors and spine, stimulates the digestive organs (like a twist pose does) and is generally vitalizing. A strap can be used to help you reach your feet if your body proportions or flexibility hinder you. Ask for help if you need some pointers with pose!

Bow Pose

“I recall my scattered forces to recharge my spine.”

Dha-nur-aa-sa-na Dhanu = bow


Begin in the prone position with your forehead on the floor. Bend your knees, keeping them hip-width apart, and grasp the outsides of your ankles. Keep the pubis in contact with the floor throughout this pose to protect your lower back.

Inhaling, press the pubis into the floor, lift your legs off the floor, and begin to move your feet away from your head, drawing your upper body off the floor. As your body comes into a bow shape, keep your shoulder blades spread wide, knees hip-width apart, and pubis on the floor. Actively lengthen the entire underside of your body, with the tops of your thighs lengthening toward your knees, and your stomach/chest area lengthening toward your chin.

Breathe smoothly and naturally as you hold the pose and affirm mentally, “I recall my scattered forces to recharge my spine.”

To exit, inhale and lengthen your spine, then on the exhalation lower your legs and torso slowly back to the floor. Let go of your ankles and lie in the prone position.

Pause to integrate the effects of the pose. Or, if your lower back needs a release, proceed immediately to a counterpose (e.g., balasana).

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