Dhanurasana - The Bow

Asana practice in Yoga Meditation is quite different from that of modern yoga studios. Dhanurasana, the Bow is described here are for those participating in Yoga Mentoring with Radhikaji.

Dhanurasana, the Bow, like all other backward bending poses, strengthens the back and increases the flexibility of the spine, so that the meditator can sit comfortably for longer periods in meditative postures like Swastikasana and Siddhasana.

Preparatory Pose 1 

This is a simple variation of Ardha Dhanurasana: Half Bow

Lie on stomach with the legs together, the chin on the floor, the right arm extended alongside the body, and the left arm bent at the elbow and placed on the floor in front of the head. 

Bend the right leg at the knee and with the right hand grasp the outside of the ankle. Inhaling raise the head, shoulders and chest, pulling the leg up as high up as possible without straining the muscles of the back. 

Breathe normally. Hold this position for 10 seconds or as long as comfortable.

Exhaling slowly lower the leg.

Rest in Makarasana, until the respiration and heartbeat are normal.

Repeat the exercise on the left side.

Practice this daily for at least 2 weeks before attempting the next preparatory pose.

Preparatory Pose 2

This is another variation of Ardha Dhanurasana. 

Lie on stomach with the legs together, the chin on the floor, the right arm extended alongside the body, and the left arm bent at the elbow and placed on the floor in front of the head. 

Bend the right leg at the knee. This time grasp the outside of the ankle with the left hand. Inhaling raise the head, shoulders and chest, pulling the leg up as high up as possible without straining the muscles of the back. 

Breath normally. Hold this position for 10 seconds or as long as is comfortable

Dhanurasana: The Bow

Lie on stomach with the legs together, the arms extended alongside the body. 

Place the chin on the floor. Bend both the knees. Grasp the outside of the ankles.

Inhaling raise the head, should and chest. Pull the legs up as high as possible. 

Breathing normally hold this position for 5 seconds or as long as comfortable.

In the initial weeks as you begin to practice the full Bow, you may allow the legs to be apart. As you get more comfortable in this pose, keep the legs together, taking care not to overstrain yourself. 

Exhaling slowly lower the legs first and then the torso.  

You may want to relax for a few minutes in Makarasana Variation 2, the Crocodile, until the breath and heartbeats are normal. 

Repeat the asana again. 

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