According to their particularities, Yoga asanas offer a chain of benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. Such is the case with Ardha dhanurasana or incomplete bow pose, a variant of Dhanurasana or full bow pose, one of the 12 basic asanas of Hatha Yoga. In this pose, the torso, legs, and arms represent the archer’s bow, which is why it is considered one of the most challenging yogic asanas.
The following guidelines show how to do Ardha Dhanurasana correctly in a way that practitioners will be able to test their ability without the risk of injuring their ligaments.
Ardha Dhanurasana or the bow pose is, in fact, one of the simplest versions of Dhanurasana, ideal for beginners or people who have some difficulty in the movements or stretching of their joints. Other variations of Dhanurasana are often more challenging for those who tolerate it easily.
Parsva means side, flank. To perform this version of Ardha Dhanurasana, carry out the instructions above and then, with an exhale, bring your right shoulder to the floor, pull your left foot hard to the right, and turn to the right side.
Urdhva means “to move upwards,” In this variation, the arms and legs are reached as high as possible. It is a difficult position and is only recommended for those who have been practicing for a long time and do not have any injuries or physical handicaps.
If you find it very difficult to hold your ankles directly, wrap a strap around your ankles and grasp the free ends of the strap, keeping your arms fully extended.
You can increase the Ardha Dhanurasana challenge by raising both hands to hold the raised foot or ankle for a more accentuated backbend.
This posture opens all the energy centers, mainly pubic and cardiac, and the subtle energy channels to the left and right.
Ardha Dhanurasana helps to open, activate and balance the following chakras:
The incomplete bow pose unlocks the breath, develops balance, concentration, provides a good flow of energy, eliminates nervous tension and provides a feeling of general balance, correcting asymmetries in the body and harmonizing the currents of energy from the right and left.
Ardha Dhanurasana benefits the following muscles and can therefore be included in yoga sequences with the focus of working for these muscle groups:
To achieve a good posture of Ardha Dhanurasana, in any of its versions, it is necessary to focus on each movement well to make the most of the work of each muscle group and obtain the expected benefits.
Maintain internal immobility or fixation of your gaze on changes from one position to another. Also, make sure you don’t lose your breath or balance.
While doing the bow pose, try to use only your leg muscles and allow your back to bend back passively. With regular practice, it will be easier. Make sure your hands wrap around the ankles, not the feet. Keep your feet together, so they stay in contact throughout the practice.
Rest the body’s weight on the ribs instead of the soft part of the abdomen in the final pose. Adjust the balance of your body so that the belly is in contact with the floor. Keep your arms straight throughout the practice. Pull your chest and thighs up equally and don’t bend your elbows. Keep the width of your knees strictly according to the width of your shoulders.
Now that you know how to do Ardha Dhanurasana or the bow pose, its benefits, its physical and energetic effects, its variants and its contraindications, you cannot stop trying to practice it. Certainly, it is a demanding and challenging asana, but the results are well worth your constant practice until you reach a correct posture.