Bow Pose - Dhanurasana

Bow Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska


Bow Pose or Dhanurasana in Sanskrit (‘Dhanu’ means ‘bow’, whereas ‘asana’ means ‘pose’ or ‘posture’) is a backbending yoga posture that resembles a bow when practiced.

This powerful pose works on all the parts of your back simultaneously. The balancing of the entire body on the lower abdomen makes the body look like a powerful and strong bow. This beautiful pose brings all the stretch that is needed to the entire back and works wonders on the abdominal muscles.

Bow Pose is considered a base pose as bow pose variations can be derived from this pose. Bow Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in flow yoga sequences.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Start by lying flat on your stomach with the arms alongside the body, legs extended straight out in back of you and the chin on the earth.
Step 2
On an exhale, bend the knees and bring your heels as close as you can to your butt. The knees should not be any wider than hip distance apart.
Step 3
Reach back and grab hold of your outer ankles. The fingers are facing outwards and the thumbs are on the inner ankles.
Step 4
On an inhale, flex the feet with the heels pressing up towards the sky. Lift the thighs up and off the earth.
Step 5
Press the shins towards the back of the room which will simultaneously lift the head, chest and upper body of the ground. Keep pressing everything up towards the sky.
Step 6
Bring the shoulder blades together as you draw the shoulder away from the ears.
Step 7
Soften the gaze directly in front of you. Ensure your breath is still deep and even flowing. Keep drawing your legs up and back and rolling your inner thighs towards the sky.
Step 8
To release, exhale to slowly place your thighs back on the ground. Then gently release your legs and feet on the earth. Place the right ear on the mat and bring your arms alongside the body. Repeat and then place the left ear on the mat.

Benefits and Contraindications


Stretches the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat, and deep hip flexors (psoas)

Strengthens the back muscle

Improves posture

Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck


High or low blood pressure



Serious lower-back or neck injury

Photo poses in different angles

Modifications and Props

Taking into consideration that Bow Pose is an intermediate-level yoga pose beginners might need some time before mastering it. Nevertheless, the pose can be always modified with its easier variation or modified with the help of props. Here are some examples of using props while performing Bow Pose.

  • Strap: Try using a strap around if you have limited shoulder flexibility or trouble reaching your ankles.
  • Blanket: place a folded blanket under your pelvis to avoid your hip bones pressing into the floor
  • Block: If you have trouble keeping your legs and arms lifted, you can place a yoga block between your feet and hold onto the sides of the block instead of your ankles. This can help to distribute the weight evenly and provide additional stability.

Useful Tips For Beginners

  • Try the pose in stages by only lifting your chest up, leaving your thighs and knees on the floor
  • Make sure you have warmed up your spine before trying this pose – use lower backbends such as Cobra< and Locust first.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I hold Dhanurasana?

Dhanurasana can be held for 15-30 seconds in the beginning and gradually increased to a minute. It is important to listen to your body and not overexert yourself.

What should I keep in mind while practicing Dhanurasana?

It is important to keep the breath smooth and steady while practicing Dhanurasana. Also, avoid jerky movements and make sure to keep the shoulders relaxed and away from the ears. It is advisable to practice Dhanurasana under the guidance of a certified yoga instructor.

Can Dhanurasana help in weight loss?

Dhanurasana can aid in weight loss by stimulating the digestive system and improving metabolism. It also strengthens the muscles in the abdomen and lower back, which can help in toning the body.

Can Dhanurasana help in relieving back pain?

Dhanurasana can be helpful in relieving back pain by strengthening the muscles of the back and improving posture. However, if you have chronic back pain, it is important to consult a doctor before practicing Dhanurasana.


  • Both Hands One Legged Big Toe Bow Pose
  • One Legged Bow Pose Preparation With Strap
  • Big Toe Bow Pose B
  • Supported Bow Pose Chair Pose Partner
  • Half Bow Pose
  • One Legged Bow Pose
  • Bow Pose with bolster under knees and elbows on floor
  • Bow Pose with a strap

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Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.