Dhanurasana – Bow Pose

Post By: Published on: December 20, 2016 Reading time: 4 minutes

School of Yoga explains Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Hatha Yoga Pradipika on Dhanurasana: Chapter 1, verse(25) Dhanurasana – that which is called dhanurasana is performed by catching the toes of the feet and bringing it to the ear.


Dhanurasana – Bow pose

School of Yoga explains – Dhanurasana technique: 

  • Sthithi (starting) position: Lie down on the stomach.
  • Spread the legs as widely as you can. Breathing in, fold the legs back at the knees. Reach out and grab the ankles with both hands.
  • Breathing out, raise the legs by pulling the legs upwards. Balance the entire body on the stomach.
  • Once you have sufficient experience, you may rock the body forward and back on the abdomen.
  • Repeat the exercise by rocking sideways and in a circular motion.
  • Breathe in when coming to rest on the ground.
  • Release the legs. Get back to sthithi (starting) position.
  • Breathe normally. Repeat 3 to 6 times.
  • The drishti (gaze) recommended is Oordhva drishti (open sky gaze).

School of Yoga explains – Dhanurasana benefits: 


Yogacharya Sundaram demonstrating Dhanurasana

  • The action of rocking the body on the stomach increases intra-abdominal pressure and ensures excellent peristaltic action. This exercise is excellent for stimulating and toning the complete digestive system, the stomach, intestines, etc. This exercise is very good for improving pancreatic function.
  • The action is also very good for reducing fat in the adipose tissues due the nature of the abdominal massage induced by the asana. Consequently, this asana reduces obesity.
  • In obese people, fat and adipose tissue results in reduced blood supply to the region. However,  dhanurasana re-establishes blood supply and improves functioning of the entire abdominal region.
  • Good for most digestion related ailments, especially diabetes or as a tool for managing recovery from hepatitis as there the rocking movement massages the pancreas, liver and other organs related to digestion.
  • Rejuvenates the reproductive system and relieves menstrual discomfort. Though asanas are not advised during menstruation, but the regular practice of dhanurasana could alleviate menstrual cramps.
  • The action of reverse flexing the back results in toning of the entire spinal cord, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
  • The pulling of the legs back simultaneously in a stretched condition induces tension in the vertebrae, increasing the strength of the back and toning up the spinal column.

School of Yoga explains – Dhanurasana contraindications 

  • In the initial days, you may experience difficulty in lifting yourself up. This is because the back muscles are unused to this kind of exercise. Go slow, over time, you will be able to lift yourself.
  • If you have any form of back ache, push yourself only to the point where there is no discomfort. When pain or discomfort starts, stop immediately. With practice, the back will begin to flex better.
  • Practitioners suffering from vertigo must also be careful not to strain beyond the limits of their bodies.
  • Since this exercise exerts pressure on the heart, people with cardiac concerns should perform this asana under supervision.
  • This asana should not be practiced during pregnancy.

Some noteworthy points on Dhanurasana:

Internal Links: Dharma (conditioning), Stress and Situational Awareness, Prana, Asana overview 1, Asana Overview 2, Asana Focus or gazing, PranayamaHatha Yoga Pradeepika 

External Links: Prana, Chakra, Pancha Tattva, Pancha Prana, Pancha Kosha, Nadi,

  • This asana is considered to be one of the 32 most important asanas by all ancient texts.
  • Obese people should perform this asana with help and not try too hard to get to the complete pose as it could lead to internal damage, including blood vessels. First, Do one leg, then do with the other before attempting both together. Initially, one may keep the legs together when lifting and with experience, spread the legs to get maximum benefit.
  • This asana should be done after exhalation and any inhalation should be shallow. The reason is that, if this asana is done with lungs filled with air, the diaphragm will push the abdomen down tightening it. This will reduce the massaging effect of the rocking motion on the abdominal organs, especially the intestines. Also, a tight abdomen can lead to cramps during rocking.

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