Always wanted to master the bow pose during your yoga sessions? Read on to discover the best ways to practice this pose and the benefits of doing so.
Yoga is a practice that will undoubtedly improve your physical, mental and spiritual abilities. Once you have become comfortable with the basics, you will feel as though you are ready to move on to mastering more advanced styles and poses.
The bow pose is a middling position that stretches your back muscles fully whilst opening the front part of your body.This pose is also known as the dhanurasana and is an intermediate yoga position that is performed on the floor.
You will lie on your stomach whilst arching your back which inherently allows you to grab both ankles and morph your body into a bow shape.
Numerous studies have proven that this practice has a vast array of health benefits and although it is not recommended to perform this pose whilst you are pregnant or if you have hypertension, it is undoubtedly a beneficial position for the vast majority of participants.
The Five Benefits Of Bow Pose
- There are several benefits with regards to your physical health as this pose improves your hips flexibility and opens up your hips entirely, improving circulation and reducing the pain induced by lower back cramps.
- It also increases mobility across your hip area. Practicing this pose with regularity will help to stimulate your digestive system as your stomach and pelvis are both engaging with the floor which massages any essential organs in the digestive area. This is why this pose has been renowned for alleviating issues like constipation or stomach aches.
- This pose also strengthens the muscles in your upper back as it engages all of these muscles as you reach backwards which improves your posture drastically.
- This pose opens up your shoulders fully and relieves any tightness that may be inhibiting your body’s natural posture.
- This pose also strengthens your hamstrings and the spine area ensuring that lower back injury is less likely to occur.
How To Do Bow Pose
- Start by lying on your stomach with your arms to the side and your palms facing upwards. Your knees should be kept hip-width apart.
- Raise your body up off the floor slightly and place one hand on each ankle. This can be achieved by lifting your head up and pinching your shoulders backwards. Try to bring your feet as close to your buttocks as possible to increase the stretch.
- Lift your legs and thighs as much as possible. Raising these away from the floor should also raise your head and upper body.
- Hold your position by pushing your tailbone towards the floor, keep your muscles as relaxed as possible and stay in place for 30 seconds.
Practice This Pose Safely
You should ensure that you’ve mastered the basics of yoga prior to practicing intermediate or advanced style poses. Adopting proper form and technique is essential in ensuring the safety of a yoga practice.
If you have an underlying health condition, you should also consult with your doctor prior to undertaking any style of yoga practice.
Yoga is often underestimated with regards to the physical strains that it can place on the body and people mistake it for other styles of practice that are far less strenuous.
In actuality, it is far more physically demanding than most people expect and your practice should always be modified to suit your individual needs first and foremost.
Do not stretch yourself beyond your limits (literally and metaphorically) if you don’t feel like you are in a position where you are able to do so. Yoga is a spiritual practice that caters to your individual needs, it is not a competitive sport and should not be treated as such.
If you feel like your yoga teacher is pushing you beyond your own limitations, then find another class that is less demanding and more spiritually aligned. These poses should always be taken at your own pace and pushing yourself into a position that is highly uncomfortable will only end up causing more damage than good.
However, if you feel as though you are able to advance to this level of practice then there are numerous benefits of doing so. Your upper body will be strengthened beyond belief and you will also be able to alleviate tension more frequently and with ease (eventually!)
Women, in particular, hold a lot of tension across their chest area and this can be relieved quickly when practicing the bow pose as it enables the chest area to open up entirely.
The pinning of the shoulders also relieves tension in the shoulder area which is where the vast majority of people will hold tension, regardless of their gender.
Do not stress if you are unable to reach your ankles at first, take some time to stretch out the body alternatively until you feel as though you are flexible enough to reach your ankles and practice this pose effectively. Otherwise you will find yourself growing frustrated as opposed to being relaxed.
Yoga is about freeing the mind and body to the point where you are able to push past any self-imposed limitations and frustration will only worsen your spiritual state of mind, this is another reason why it is crucial to take this practice at your own pace as you may become so frustrated that you quit the practice entirely which is not beneficial in the long term.
Always remember, any teacher who belittles you or pushes you too far, is not a master of their craft as real yoga masters understand the individualism that is required to master your own yoga practice and ensure that you achieve the maximum level of release and efficiency.
Practice the bow pose, if and when you are ready to do so, and feel the benefits spiral through your body at an unprecedented rate.