Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Inspired by an archer's bow, the Sanskrit name for Bow Pose is made up of two words: 'Dhanu' = bow and 'Asana' = pose.


Dhanurasana has many holistic benefits:

  • It stimulates the adrenal glands, which can help reduce fatigue and boost energy.
  • Massaging abdominal organs, it increases blood flow to the digestive system, promoting healthy kidney and live function.
  • Strengthens the upper back, improves posture, flexibility and elasticity of the spine.
  • Stretches hip flexors and the front of the thighs.
  • Strengthens buttocks and hamstrings.
  • Opens the shoulders and chest, freeing nervous energy in the cervical and thoracic area, improving respiration.

Common mistakes

  • Incorrect grip: hold onto your ankles, not the tops of your feet. This will help to prevent ankle and knee injuries.
  • Letting the knees drop open out to the sides: they should be hip-distance apart. Do not let your knees go wider than your hips; doing so can compress and hurt your lower back. To help keep them in line, place a block between the knees and squeeze them together gently.
  • Holding tension in the lower back: keep it as relaxed as possible. The strength in this pose should come from the legs, arms, and evenly distributed across the whole back. Make sure you always warm up well before doing this asana. If you feel any pain in your back, come out of the pose very slowly.


  • For beginners, it can be difficult to reach the ankles; start with using a belt to loop around your ankles. Hold the strap from the outside with the arms in the same position as if they were holding the outside of the ankles. Then lift your torso off the ground.
  • If it's challenging to lift the thighs away from the floor, place a blanket under the hips, providing a little lift.
  • If you find it difficult to balance in this pose, try it while you lie on one side. This allows you to practice the shape of the pose first.


  • Please avoid this pose if you're pregnant or have a hernia.
  • Physical: on the expansion and contraction of the abdomen, through slow deep breathing.
  • Keep breathing throughout the pose, don't hold your breath.
  • Spiritual: on the Manipura (Solar Plexus) or Ajna Chakra (Third Eye).

Ravi Dixit is an Indian yoga teacher living in London, passionate about making traditional yoga understandable for everyone. Visit: ravi.yoga or connect on Instagram @raviyoga.goga

Yoga Show badge

Photo: Andrew Prod (andrewprod.com)

Dhanurasana 2

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.