Dhanurasana or Bow Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Dhanurasana, Bow Pose
Sanskrit
धनुरासन / Dhanurāsana
Pronunciation
DAH-noo-RAH-suh-nuh
Meaning
dhanura: “bow”
āsana: “posture”

Introduction

Dhanurasana (DAH-noo-RAH-suh-nuh) is an excellent back bending yoga pose for increasing and regaining spinal strength and flexibility. It invigorates the internal organs, especially the digestive organs, therefore removing constipation. It also stimulates the adrenal glands and the sympathetic nervous system. This pose expands the chest and strengthens the lungs, making it a good pose for those with asthma and respiratory problems. Dhanurasana also strengthens the leg muscles, especially the upper thighs, relieves stiff shoulders, and reduces excess weight around the abdominal area. This pose is recommended for those with diabetes, incontinence, and menstrual disorder.

The cross-sectional observation done among three different populations showed that individuals practicing yoga regularly enjoyed many benefits such as low serum stress hormone concentrations along with Zung Self-rating Depression Scale, ZSDS ratings demonstrating greater stability. Yoga is a great way to improve your mental and physical health. Yoga practitioners had lower levels of cortisol.

Muscle Focus

Bow Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • Back muscles
  • Core
  • Hamstring
  • Glutes
  • Calf muscles
  • Biceps and Triceps

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • Strengthens back muscles.
  • Improves lung capacity.
  • Eases stress response of the body.

Benefits of Dhanurasana or Bow Pose

1. Expands Lungs and Chest

The bow pose is an excellent way to expand the chest and lungs. If you have asthma or other respiratory problems, this pose can help to strengthen and open your lungs.

2. Stimulates Adrenal Glands and Sympathetic Nervous System

The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and are responsible for releasing adrenaline in response to stress. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “fight or flight” response. When these two systems are stimulated, they can help to increase energy and vitality.

3. Stimulates our Kidneys

The bow pose is beneficial to our kidneys as it tones the arm and leg muscles. It also helps to increase blood flow to this area, improving kidney function.

4. Strengthens Legs

The bow pose is a great way to strengthen the leg muscles, especially the upper thighs. It can also help relieve stiffness in the shoulders.

5. Reduces Excess Weight Around Abdominal Area

The bow pose is a good way to reduce excess weight around the abdominal area. It helps to tighten and tone the stomach muscles, as well as burn calories.

6. Recommended for Those With Diabetes, Incontinence and Menstrual Disorders

The bow pose is recommended for people with diabetes, incontinence, and menstrual disorders. It can help to improve circulation and digestion, as well as relieve stress and tension.

7. It Improves Flexibility

The bow pose is a great way to improve flexibility in the back. It can also help to relieve stress and fatigue.

Contraindications

Avoid this pose when you have a headache or migraine. Women who are menstruating or pregnant should avoid this pose. Those with neck injuries or pain should keep the head upright. This pose should not be done when suffering from any stomach ulcer or diarrhea. Make sure students continue normal breathing and do not hold their breath in this pose as this can result in heaviness in the head. Keep the legs and arms firm to avoid any load bearing directly on the spine.

Variations

  • Ardh Dhanurasana (Half Bow Pose)
  • Purna Dhanurasana (Full Bow Pose)
  • One-Legged Bow Pose

Preparatory Pose

  • Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
  • Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
  • Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
  • Salabhasana (Locust Pose)

Beginner’s Tips

  • If you are a beginner, it is best to place a folded blanket under your waist to increase the curve in your spine.
  • You can also use a strap or belt to help you reach your ankles or feet.

How to do Bow Pose

  • Stand the bow pose is a fairly easy pose to do and can be modified depending on your level of flexibility.
  • Start by lying flat on your stomach with your legs stretched out behind you. Reach your arms back and grab hold of your ankles or feet. If you cannot reach your ankles or feet, use a belt or strap to assist you.
  • Inhale and lift your head, chest, and legs off the floor while keeping your waistline firmly in place.
  • Arch your spine like a bow by bending it backward.
  • Hold for a few seconds before exhaling and lowering yourself back down to the starting position. Repeat five times.

Mental Benefits of Bow Pose

  • Strengthens the mind
  • Courage

Bottom Line

Dhanurasana helps tone your body while increasing blood flow throughout your system. This pose is beneficial for those who wish to open up their chest and shoulders while strengthening their arms, legs, and core muscles at the same time. The bow pose is an excellent way to increase strength, flexibility, and vitality. It is recommended for people with respiratory problems, diabetes, incontinence, and menstrual disorders. It can help to improve circulation and digestion, as well as relieve stress and tension.

1 sources
  1. https://www.jispcd.org/article.asp?issn=2231-0762;year=2016;volume=6;issue=1;spage=7;epage=14;aulast=Katuri
Meera Watts
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes, and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa, and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali), and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

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