Bow Pose, Dhanurasana, is a backbend pose and also a chest opener. Bow is an intermediate backbend that deeply open the front of the body including the chest. This is an advanced yoga pose and should be practiced over time during your yoga practice. Make sure to do some other foundation poses before transitioning into bow. If you spend a great deal of the day in front of a computer or if you play a lot of sports, you know how good it feels to be able to stretch your arms back and lift your chest you. Bow Pose does just that for you. Bow pose is a natural way to bend backwards and regain balance after leaning forward all day.
As we have discussed bow pose stretches the whole front for the body. Yet, it also simultaneously strengthens every muscle in the back. This will help to improve flexibility and posture. The pressure that is placed on the abdomen stimulates the organs of digestion and reproduction. This will help to relieve constipation and menstrual discomfort and distress. The deep stretch that comes from opening the chest also opens the lungs helping to relieve respiratory issues. This pose also can invigorate and boost the mind, spirit, and body heling to relieve fatigue, anxiety and stress.
To successfully do bow pose, begin by lying flat on the mat stomach and chin down and your hands resting at your side. Begin to bend you knees, bringing your heels as close as you can to your buttocks, keeping your knees hip distance apart. Reach back with both of your hands trying to hold onto your ankles. Attempt to lift your heels up to the ceiling while drawing your thighs off the mat. Your head, chest, and torso will begin to lift as well. Draw your tailbone down to the floor. Contiune to lift your thighs higher and while lifting your chest draw your shoulder blades into your upper back. Gaze forward and breathe softly. Hold for up to 30 seconds. To release, exhale and gently lower your thighs to the mat, slowly releasing your legs and feet to the mat.