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Benefits of Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

By Dr. Ankit Sankhe +2 more

Introduction: 

Though, India was the home ground of yogasana, it was only practiced majorly by the older generations. With a paradigm shift in trends, yogasana has been not only practiced but loved too by the younger generations! It is able to win the hearts of one and all through its ease of practice and mind-blowing results. 

dhanurasana

One of the many yogasana postures is Dhanurasana or the Bow Pose. Be it the spine or abdomen, this asana has got everything covered.1 

Now, like the majority of people if you’re are glued to a desk and living a sedentary lifestyle, then you need Dhanurasana in your life. So, continue reading to know more about it. 

Did you know? 

  • Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) increases heart rate and blood pressure in healthy young volunteers. source: PMC
  • Dhanurasana induces a higher stress response compared to other yoga asanas. source: PMC
  • Regular practice of Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) improves sleep quality in the elderly. source: NCBI
  • Regular practice of Dhanurasana can reduce sleep latency (time taken to fall asleep) in the elderly. source: NCBI
  • Bow Pose can help improve lung capacity and increase respiratory function. source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

What is Dhanurasana? 

Dhanurasana, or the bow pose, is a complete yoga asana as it may help to tone the back and strengthen abdominal muscles. It also helps to stretch the front part of the body, including the abdomen and chest, ankles, thighs, throat, groins and hip flexors.1 

Dhanurasana is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Dhanush,’ which means bow, whereas Asana means pose or posture. Owing to the bow-shaped posture of the body while performing it, it is referred to as the bow pose. Dhanurasana may provide a beneficial effect on all back problems and enhance the digestion process.1,2 

Dhanurasana may help manage the health of the human body and may stimulate the spiritual level.1 

The different types of Dhanurasana are: 

  • Parsva Dhanurasana is also called the Lateral side plank Dhanurasana. It is performed by rolling on the floor on lateral sides in the bow pose. It gives an excellent massage to the abdominal organs.1   
  • Urdhva Dhanurasana is sometimes called the Wheel pose. It is the upward-facing bow position. The Asana helps to arch the spine fully, stretches profoundly and works on the shoulders, wrists, thighs, hip flexors and abdominal core.3 
  • Akarna Dhanurasana is known as the Shooting Bow pose. In this asana, your body resembles an archer about to shoot an arrow. It works on leg rotation and helps achieve flexibility.3 

 Other types of variations include:  

  • Easy bow pose hips floor hands aerial 
  • Bow pose rocking variation 
  • Hidden lotus pose hands hips special 
  • One-legged bow pose preparation with strep 
  • Both hands one-legged big toe bow pose.1 

Also Read: Benefits of Sirsasana (Headstand) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

Dhanurasana is known for its benefits in managing menstrual disorders. It may help to improve blood circulation throughout the body, promoting overall wellness. So, it’s like a natural helper in good menstrual health and keeping your blood flowing smoothly!

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

How to do it? 

It is essential to understand the proper technique to perform the bow pose to avoid the chances of injuries and to obtain maximum health benefits.2 The steps to do the bow pose are as follows: 

  • You may start Dhanurasana by lying down in a Crocodile pose (Makarasana) with feet wide apart and pointing outward. It makes your body look like a crocodile. It is practised for relaxation in prone posture.4 
  • Lie down on your stomach, facing downwards. Bring your arms close to the body, stretch the legs and take deep breaths to relax your spine. 
  • While exhaling, bend your knees and point the toes close to you by bringing your legs and feet as close as comfortably possible to your lower back.  
  • Slowly stretch your arms backwards and grab the right foot toe with the right hand and the left foot toe with the left hand. 
  • While exhaling, pull your legs upwards by raising your knees above the floor and, at the same time, lift the chest from the floor. The arms and hands appear like bowstrings. If you are a beginner, you may use a rolled blanket, place it under the knees and extend your legs upward. It may provide you with extra support. 
  • Slowly uplift your head and tug it as far back as possible. Allow your abdomen to bear the weight of the body. Do not rest either the pelvic bones or the ribs on the floor. 
  • While lifting the legs, do not join them at the knees, for the legs will not be raised high enough. After full stretch upwards, bend the thighs, knees and ankles. Maintain bow pose for a few minutes and slowly return to the initial position. 1,2,5 

For beginners, slight modification may be done. You may use a yoga strap or take help from someone around you if it is difficult to reach the ankles. Place it around the ankles of the feet and pull yourself upward by holding this strap with a proper grip.1 

Dhanurasana is a great yoga pose for releasing nervous energy in the thoracic and cervical areas. It may also improve respiration, helping you breathe better and feel more relaxed. So, stretch like a bow and let go of tension while boosting your breath!

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Do You Know? 

  • Yoga and Asana are the two main parts of Ayurveda. Yoga provides simple skills and procedures for good health, whereas Asana gives physical and mental power and helps synchronise the mind with the body.1 Here are a few facts which might be interesting to read: Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras (an authoritative text on yoga), defined Asana as ‘Sthirasukhatvam’, which means that the body posture for meditation should be a steady, stable and pleasurable state.2 
  • Among the three-classic texts about Asana, Gheranda Samhita describes “Dhanurasana” as one of the 32 important Asanas (dated 1650 CE).2 
  • According to Hath Yoga Pradipika, a classic Sanskrit text on Hatha Yoga, Dhanurasana is defined as “holding the toes of feet with both hands and carrying them into the air by drawing the body like a bow”.2 

Also Read: Benefits of Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

Get ready to feel strong, look beautiful, and shine with confidence with Dhanurasana! This amazing asana can possibly strengthen your shoulders and neck, while also slimming your waist. Your eyes will sparkle like never before, and you may even notice an improvement in your eyesight.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Benefits of Dhanurasana: 

Yoga Asanas are the “skillfull exercises” that give our body physical and mental support. Dhanurasana is a body-strengthening asana that may help to better spine health.1 Some of the potential benefits of Dhanurasana are described as follows: 

1. Benefits of Dhanurasana for the Spine: 

Dhanurasana may help in spine stretching. Regular performing this Asana may help properly extend the spine, including the cervical region, thoracic and lumber spine. Dhanurasana also exerts great pressure on the spine resulting in an adjustment of vertebral bones. It gives your spine flexibility and elasticity and tones up the abdominal muscles. If you are suffering from slipped disc problems and regularly practice Dhanurasana, it may help you get relief from your problem.2 However, you must consult a professional doctor if you suffer from back problems. 

2. Benefits of Dhanurasana for the Diabetes: 

Yoga has given hope to diabetic patients to remain free from medication. A study (Malhotra et al., 2005) involving diabetic individuals showed that doing Dhanurasana for 3-7 mins may help to manage blood sugar levels. The study result showed reduced insulin resistance and increased insulin sensitivity. It directly affects glucose levels and also increases insulin secretion. It was also observed that performing Dhanurasana helps to reduce body mass index and waist fat. As Dhanurasana stimulates the liver and pancreas, it is beneficial for the management of diabetes. Hence, performing Dhanurasana while using conventional medicines may provide better regulation in diabetic patients.2,6 

3. Other benefits of Dhanurasana: 

  • It may help strengthen the abdominal muscles and add greater flexibility to the back.1 
  • It may enhance the blood circulation around the muscles, organs and connective tissues.2 
  • It may straighten the hunched back and drooping shoulders.5 
  • It may help to tone the arms and legs.1 
  • It may help to stretch the neck, shoulders and chest muscles.1 
  • It may stimulate the organs of the neck and abdomen.1 
  • It may aid in enhancing a good body posture.1 
  • It may be useful in managing chest ailments.5 
  • It may relieve your kidney related dysfunctions.1 
  • It may ease constipation, indigestion and sluggishness of the liver.5 
  • It may work as an effective stress buster and decrease fatigue.1 
  • It may also regulate and stimulate the adrenal and thyroid glands for maintaining the optimal functioning of the hormones in the body.5 

Yoga practice may help develop the mind and body; however, it is still not an alternative to modern medicine. Therefore, you must not rely on Yoga alone to treat any condition. Instead, please consult a qualified doctor who will be able to assess your condition correctly and advise accordingly. Moreover, it is necessary to practice and learn Yoga under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher to avoid any injuries.  

Also Read: Benefits of Halasana (Plough Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

Risks of Exercise 

Some contraindications related to Dhanurasana are: 

  • People who have undergone abdominal surgery must avoid doing this Asana until the doctor say so.1 
  • People that have headaches, migraine or insomnia should not perform it. 
  • Avoid doing this pose if you have lower backache or neck injury.1 
  • People with high/low blood pressure issues and hernia or peptic ulcers should consult a professional Yoga practitioner.5 
  • Pregnant women should not perform the bow pose.1 

With the guidance of a trained Yoga expert/ teacher, we can assess and analyse the risk factors and continue to practice exercise with precautions.  

Also Read: Yoga Asanas for Hair Growth: A Comprehensive Research-Based Guide

Conclusion  

Dhanurasana or bow pose is a complete Yoga Asana that helps to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles. The health benefits may include enhancing blood circulation, adjusting hunched back and body posture, managing diabetes, digestive ailments and chest ailments, etc. One must take precautions while performing this pose and possibly do it under the guidance of a professional Yoga trainer to avoid injuries. 

Also Read: Benefits of Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is Dhanurasana? 

The name Dhanurasana derives from the Sanskrit word ‘Dhanush,’ which means ‘bow’ or ‘Asana’ means ‘posture’ or ‘pose.’ In the final pose, the body resembles the shape of a bow with its attached string, hence the name. It is a sequence of Yogasana that helps to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles.1,2,5 

What are the steps to perform Dhanurasana?

Dhanurasana steps start with lying down in a prone position (facing downwards). While exhaling, bend the knees and hold the toes with your hands. Slowly lift your thighs, chest and head as high as possible. Maintain your body weight to lower the stomach; join the ankles. While breathing, normally look upward. Exhale and bring down the head and legs up to the knee joint. For a few minutes, maintain this position and slowly come back to your initial position.2,5 

What are the benefits of Dhanurasana for the digestive system? 

Dhanurasana exerts tremendous pressure on the abdomen. It helps release gas from the stomach and relieves constipation and dyspepsia (indigestion).2 

What is the expert tip for beginners to do the bow pose? 

For beginners, it gets difficult to lift their thighs from the floor. So, you may take the support of a rolled blanket and, lying on your thighs, extend your legs upward.1 However, do not try this without consulting a certified Yoga trainer. 

What are the benefits of Dhanurasana? 

If you perform Dhanurasana regularly, it may benefit the entire body. It may help to gain a good body posture. It may straighten your hunched back. It may enhance the blood circulation around the spinal nerves, connective tissues, muscles and organs, resulting in muscle toning and elasticity of ligaments. It may also give flexibility to the back, benefitting the entire body.1,2,5 

 

References: 

1. Gangwal J. Importance of Dhanurasana in Day-to-Day Life. Ilkogretim Online – Elemen Edu On. 2020;19(4):3248–3254. Available from: https://www.ilkogretim-online.org/fulltext/218-1618593830.pdf 

2. Jadoun S., Rana A., Yadav S. An Anatomical Exploration of “Dhanurasana”. Intern J of Trend in Sci Rese and Develop. 2020;4(4):5–11. Available from: https://www.ijtsrd.com/papers/ijtsrd30878.pdf 

3. Mark Stephens. Yoga Sequencing| Designing Transformative Yoga Classes. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books; 2012. 1–870 p. Available from: https://mantrayogameditation.org/books/Yoga_Sequencing__Designing_Transformative_Yoga_Classes__PDFDrive.com_20190806-65995-mi65oo.pdf 

4. Basavaradd I., editor. 21 June INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA Common Yoga Protocol, Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH). 4 Revised. Ministry of AYUSH | Government of India; 2019. 1–54 p. Available from: http://mea.gov.in/images/attach/Booklet_English_2017.pdf 

5. International Day of Yoga, Yoga Postures [Internet]. Ministry of External Affairs GOI. [cited 2022 Aug 20]. Available from: https://mea.gov.in/yoga-postures-16.htm 

6. Malhotra V., Singh S. The beneficial effect of Yoga in diabetes. Nepal Medic College J. 2005;7(2):145–147. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7259161_The_benficial_effect_of_yoga_in_diabetes/link/5f704444458515b7cf50f771/download 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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