Dhanurasana means ‘posture held in the position of a bow’: “Dhanu” means ‘bow’ and “Asana” means ‘pose’. So, when you reach the final position the body resembles a bow (the abdomen and thigh representing the wooden part of the bow and the legs lower parts and arms representing the bowstring). To reach the final position you need to lie on the ground on your front, stretch your legs as straight as possible, bend your knees lifting your thighs off the floor (inhaling) and catch hold of your ankles with your hands behind the back. Then exhale and raise your torso off the floor (weight on the thighs) bending your back like the shape of a bow.
Dhanurasana is a position known for many health benefits and advantages like strengthening the lower back, making your entire spine flexible and supple and reliving stiffness. This position also helps dissolve fat around the abdominal region helping with weight loss. In addition, by holding Dhanurasana you also massage your liver (which aids digestion) and blood is flushed throughout the entire body cleansing it and allowing the kidneys to work more efficiently. Further still, the secretion of the adrenal and thyroid glands is regularised as blood is flushed through the glands. Finally, this posture works the following muscles (see the diagram below):
Dhanurasana is not suitable for everyone. Anyone who suffers from heart problems and/or high blood pressure should avoid this position; as should anyone with a hernia or abdominal issues (like ulcers or appendicitis) or serious back/neck issues.
To get the best out the posture try to use the leg muscles only and place the weight of the body into the thighs, letting the back be passively bend backwards. You also need to ensure that you breathe into the chest (and not the abdomen) when holding Dhanurasana. To assist with this, you can lie on a folded blanket to pad the lower abdomen until you get used to where the weight of the body should be. With regular practice, it will become easier.
Damian is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga. The Prana Vashya Yoga School on Queens Road in Leicester is now open. Please contact Damian for class time details, etc:
Tel: 0777 900 1896
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/queensroadyoga/