Bow Pose
by Jennifer Arnold

dhanur= bow
asana = posture

1.Lie face down on your mat with your forehead resting on the ground. Stretch the legs back and the arms forward.

2. With an exhalation, bend your right knee and reach back with the right arm, taking hold of the outer ankle. Pause for a breath, and while still holding the right ankle, exhale and bend the left knee as you reach back with the left hand, taking hold of the outer left ankle.

3. Keep your thighs and chest down. Pause for a breath or two.

4. Exhale, and begin to lift the thighs, press the shins up and back, simultaneously lifting the chest off the floor. Let your gaze move toward the front of the room, keeping your neck long.

5. Feel your belly and hip points resting on the ground as everything else lifts upward. Take 3 to 5 breaths, slowly release, and rest before moving on.

1. Sometimes tightness in the shoulders can limit this posture as students are unable to reach the ankles. If this happens to you, bring a strap around your ankles holding the strap taught with the hands, lift from there.

2. Also, let your knees open to a comfortable distance without taking them too wide. Forcing the knees together can prevent the sacrum (the very back of your pelvis) from moving in the correct direction thus also limiting the upward and backward movement of the spine.

strengthens back muscles; stretches abdominal and chest muscles; opens shoulder joints; increases flexibility in spine; counteracts effects of prolonged sitting; brings a sense of joy