The Sanskrit word Dhanu means 'a bow'. Because in the final position it resembles a bow, so it is called bow pose.
How to perform dhanurasana:Lie flat on the floor on the stomach. Bend the legs at the knees and bring the heels as close as possible to the back.
Reach back with your hands and grasp the ankles of each leg.
Hold the feet together so that the big toes are in contact.
Place your chin on the ground.
Breathe out deeply while on the ground.
With inhalation through the nose gently raise the chin, chest and pull the both legs towards sky.
When you reach a final position, hold the pose for as long as possible. Then with exhalation lower the chin, chest and legs on the floor, relax the whole body for short time. Repeat more rounds.
Mistakes to avoid:This is an asana that is often done incorrectly. Take care to avoid the following mistakes: Do not tense the back too hard, only use the leg muscles and let the back be passively bent backwards.
Make sure that your hands wrap around the region of the ankles, not the feet.
Keep the feet together so that the big toes remain in contact throughout the entire practice.
Beginners will find it easier to keep the knees apart. If you wish you can try to bring them closer together while in the final pose.
Adjust the balance of your body so that the belly lies in contact with the floor. This is easily done by adjusting the height of the head, by either tensing or relaxing the leg muscles, accordingly.
Keep the arms straight throughout the entire practice.
People who suffer from a weak heart, high blood pressure, hernia, peptic or duodenal ulcers, appendicitis, colitis and other abdominal ailments, should not do this asana.
Don't practice dhanurasana after meals; wait for at least three or four hours.
It is advisable not to do dhanurasana immediately before going to bed at night, as this asana stimulates the adrenal glands and the sympathetic nervous centre in the navel. You may find this prevents the onset of sleep.
Dhanurasana should be followed by a forward bending asana as a counter pose.
Benefits of dhanurasana (bow pose):
• Helps overcome lethargy and sluggishness in mind and body.
• It has a direct effect on the solar plexus at the navel, which is a large sympathetic nervous centre so important for healthy functioning of the organs of the body.
• These nerves are brought into maximum efficiency, which in turn leads to improved functioning of the whole body, especially the digestive, eliminative and reproductive organs.
• The kidneys are rendered more efficient, which leads to better fluid balance within the body.
• The pancreas is toned up so that it secretes the correct amount of glucagon and insulin at the right time. • The entire alimentary canal is reconditioned, as well as accessory glands.
• It helps to alleviate constipation, dyspepsia, sluggishness of the liver, diabetes and excess fat.
• Blood is encouraged to flush through the whole system and this acts as a cleaning process.
• This relieves stiffness and the spine is made more supple and healthy. The deep muscles of the back are exercised which recirculates stagnant blood.
• The spinal column is realigned and rejuvenated. The ligaments, muscles and nerves are given a good stretch, especially on the front (anterior) surface.
• Various endocrinal glands are massaged and toned, notably the thyroid and the adrenals. The secretions of the adrenals are regularized.
• This asana also helps to alleviate various types of rheumatism.