Yoga Pose of the Week: Dhanurasana - Bow Pose

Yoga Pose of the Week: Dhanurasana - Bow Pose


19 May 2015


Sanskrit name: Dhanurasana

Dhanu: Bow
Asana: Pose / Posture

Named as such because of the bow-like shape you make while in the asana.

How to do Dhanurasana

Dhanurasana or Bow Pose is a part of the prone poses which basically means lying in a facedown position. While babies can maintain this position easily, many adults find it uncomfortable. So it’s a good idea to practice this pose slowly if you find it difficult.

Dhanurasana is a pretty intense backbend so if you are having problems with your back, take it easy and don’t go beyond what is comfortable. It’s not about getting your legs as high as possible. You want the benefits without hurting yourself.

Bow pose is such a great pose for stretching and opening up your front body (chest, neck, shoulders). If you’re someone who sits hunched in front of a computer all day, this is a great pose to practice when you get home. Just don’t do it right before bedtime as this is an energising asana.

It’s a great way to gently strengthen your back and abdominal muscles as core muscles are needed to lift into the pose. It also tones your thighs and arms with the energy it takes to hold the pose.

Most people end up rocking back and forth softly, swaying with their breath - this is normal. Try not to use your muscles to create a rocking action, instead allow your breath to be the guide. If you want to strengthen the core, try maintaining the asana without rocking as you breathe.

This can be a truly magical pose as it really opens up your chest and heart; and allows you to surrender into the asana.

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Start slow

If you can’t manage to grab your feet yet, use a strap around each ankle to help you get there. It’s always best to start slow, rather than rush in and hurt yourself. The asana will slowly open up to you.


Dhanurasana is a great pose to get into to ease some mild ailments. Just always make sure you’ve consulted your doctor beforehand and don’t get into a pose without a professional yoga teacher nearby unless you have a regular practice.

  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Menstrual discomfort
  • Mild upper backache
  • Renal kidney disorders (please consult a doctor beforehand)

Contraindication / Do not practice

Seeing that this pose is quite an intense back bend, it stands to reason that if you have lower back pain or neck injury you should not practice this pose. It’s also not a good pose to do if you have a headache, migraine or high or low blood pressure. Insomniacs should stay away from this energising pose too as should those getting ready for bed.

Since you’ll be on your stomach throughout the pose, and will be putting a considerable amount of strain on it, don’t do this pose if you’ve recently had any abdominal surgery or even if you’re pregnant.