Bow pose helps you bow out of pain

Yoga poses are great for correcting posture.

But every pose is not for every body — literally. The pose that works for you may depend on your mobility or any existing issues you might have. But fortunately there are plenty to choose from.

Today, I’d like to introduce Dhanurasana or bow pose, and here’s how it can help you…

Repetitive habits, like hunching over a computer keyboard or driving a lot, create a bi-lateral problem. Your backside is extended forward and your front side is contracted inward. This causes a postural structural problem that leads to poor posture and chronic tightness and pain.

Luckily, bow pose tackles both issues in one movement. In a few minutes a day doing this pose you can stretch and strengthen the back and the front of your body at the same time. Yoga teacher Lauren Golan shows you how…

Benefits of bow pose

Because of the way Bow Pose shapes your body, it provides many benefits to the front and back sides. It is one of the best overall “body balancing” things you can do to strengthen the back and stretch the front to correct the chronic folded hips, hunched shoulders, and forward head posture many of us succumb to through our sedentary desk and driving jobs, and free time spent on the computer, tablets and cell phones.

Bow pose stretches the front side of the body, including neck, chest, torso, abdomen, hip flexors, quadriceps and ankles. It pulls back those rounded joints that cause pain and stiffness.

At the same time Bow Pose strengthens the back side to help reestablish a vertical spine and body frame. The glutes and back from lower to upper are contracted and strengthened during the pose.

Bow Pose is also a terrific way to aid in digestion. The posture stretches the internal space where the digestive organs are housed. And the pressure of the belly against the floor while balancing, provides a gentle massage that help facilitate digestive function and movement of stools.

How to do it

Begin on the floor, face down on your stomach.

Bend your knees and grab both feet. You want to hold the top of the feet below the toes, and not the ankles, using all five fingers.

When in this position, if you find your butt is off the floor, take a few moments to relax until your belly and hips are touching the floor.

When this is established, bring your knees close so they are about the width of your hips.

Now you are ready to coil backward like a bow. To do this, you will not pull with your arms. Instead you will press your feet toward the ceiling. It is like a steady and gentle kick-back with your feet. Just keep relaxing and exhaling with each press or kick of your feet until the pose is full.

Hold for 30 seconds or as long as you can, then relax down slowly so arms and legs are all on the floor, head to one side. Repeat as often as you like.


Dr. Mark Wiley

By Dr. Mark Wiley

Dr. Mark Wiley is an internationally renowned mind-body health practitioner, author, motivational speaker and teacher. He holds doctorates in both Oriental and alternative medicine, has done research in eight countries and has developed a model of health and wellness grounded in a self-directed, self-cure approach. Dr. Wiley has written 14 books and more than 500 articles. He serves on the Health Advisory Boards of several wellness centers and associations while focusing his attention on helping people achieve healthy and balanced lives through his work with Easy Health Options® and his company, Tambuli Media.