Pose of the Month: Bow Pose (October)

 Bow is a great heart-opener for those of us who are often slumped over our keyboards.

Bow is a great heart-opener for those of us who are often slumped over our keyboards.

Bow pose (Dhanurasana) is a back bend posture that supports spinal mobility, massages the abdominal organs, helps regulate the endocrine system and opens the chest and heart! It is a great balance between strength and flexibility. As one of the bigger back bending poses it should be approached with mindfulness and care after the body is warmed up. Please also see the alternative modifications.

Bow Pose Step by Step:

  • Begin by lying on the floor face down. Take a second to extend and expand your body.

  • Bend both legs, bringing heels towards your buttocks and hold onto your ankles from the outside, thumbs facing down.

  • Broaden your chest, and slide your shoulder blades toward each other and down your back. Relax your shoulders down away from your ears.

  • Engage your core muscles and draw your pubic bone towards your belly button to lengthen your lower back.

  • Flex your feet so toes point towards the earth. Press your shins back towards the wall behind you, lifting your chest up by the power of your legs.

  • Press the chest and legs away from each other. Continuing to engage your core and lengthen your tailbone towards the wall behind you so that your low back is long.

  • Continue to lift your heels and thighs higher as your upper body continues to rise off the floor.


Modifications:

  • Try Half Bow first - rest one forearm down in front of you, in line with the short end of your mat to support you as you lift your upper body. Bend the opposite knee and reach the other hand back. Following the instructions above except you are trying it with one leg at a time, the other leg stays extended helping you to ground your body as you lift.

  • If reaching for the ankles is difficult, use a yoga strap and place it around the ankles of the feet and with a proper grip pull yourself up by holding this strap.

  • If the pressure on the abdominal area is uncomfortable , you could place a blanket to give you the support just below the pelvic and lower abdomen

Benefits:

  • Lengthens the front body while strengthening the back body - legs, back and buttocks

  • Improves posture and enhances breathing capacity

  • Massages the abdominal organs

  • Stimulates digestion

  • Improves circulation

  • Eases fatigue and anxiety