Half Bow Pose - Ardha Dhanurasana

Half Bow Pose


Half Bow Pose or Ardha Dhanurasana (ARE-dah don-your-AHS-anah) is a backbending asana that is a less intense variation of the common Hatha yoga pose, dhanurasana. From Sanskrit, ardha means “half,” dhanur means “bow” and asana means “pose.”
This asana stretches your spine and opens up your chest which gives space for your heart to grow and expand that does not come from regular breathing patterns. This in-turn boosts your energy levels and even improves your mood.
Half Bow Pose, or Ardha Dhanurasana, is a truly versatile pose, affecting many areas of the body as well as the mind. It greatly improves overall flexibility, putting the emphasis on particular muscle regions, demanding balance and focus at the same time.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Lie on your belly, with the legs together or a few inches apart. Bring the chin to the floor and slide the right arm along the floor, over your head with the palm facing down.
Step 2
Bend the right knee and reach the left hand back to hold onto the right heel or ankle (opposite hand to foot).
Step 3
Inhale and kick the right foot into the arm to lift the right leg, head and chest off of the floor. Keep the neck in line with the spine and look up at the forehead.
Step 4
Press down into the right arm for support, or lift the right arm off of the floor, keeping it parallel to the floor.
Step 5
Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.
Step 6
To release: slowly exhale and lower the leg, arm, head and chest down to the floor.
Step 7
Repeat on other side.

Benefits and Contraindications


Improves balance

Opens the chest

Improves spine flexibility

Soothes the mind

Lengthens quadriceps and other leg muscles


Back, leg, neck, shoulder injury


Recent abdominal surgery

Photo poses in different angles

Modifications and Props for Beginners

  • Use a Strap: If you have tight shoulders or arms, it may be difficult to reach your foot with your hand in Half Bow Pose. To help with this, you can use a yoga strap. Loop the strap around the arch of your foot and hold onto the ends of the strap with your hands. As you lift your foot, gently pull on the strap to help you deepen the stretch.
  • Use a Block: If you have trouble balancing in Half Bow Pose or feel like your chest is collapsing, you can place a yoga block under your chest. This will help to lift your chest and give you more stability in the pose.

Useful Tips

  • Take it Slow. Half Bow Pose is a deep backbend, so it’s important to approach it slowly and mindfully. Start by practicing easier backbends, such as Cobra or Sphinx Pose, to warm up your spine and build strength.
  • Keep Your Hips Even. As you lift your foot in Half Bow Pose, be mindful of your hips. Try to keep them even and parallel to the ground. This will help you maintain your balance and prevent any strain on your lower back.
  • If you feel any pain or discomfort in your back or shoulders, come out of the pose and take a break. Don’t force the stretch beyond what feels comfortable for you.
  • As you hold Half Bow Pose, focus on your breath. Take slow, deep breaths in and out through your nose. This will help to calm your mind and release any tension in your body.
  • Remember, Half Bow Pose is a challenging pose, so it’s important to listen to your body and practice with care. With practice and patience, you can gradually work your way towards a deeper expression of the pose.


If it is still difficult for you to raise one arm and leg and do Ardha Dhanurasana, then you can not raise the arm and leg and remain in this position.

Half Bow Pose Variation

Kneeling Bow Pose

Extend one arm forward and the opposite leg to the back, ensuring the neck aligns with the spine. Bend the upper knee, reaching the extended hand backward to grasp the foot or toes. Elevate the knee and chest, forming an arch resembling a bow.

Kneeling bow pose

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Half Bow Pose suitable for beginners?

Half Bow Pose can be challenging for beginners, especially if you have tight shoulders or a weak lower back. It’s important to approach the pose slowly and mindfully, and to use props if needed. It’s also a good idea to practice easier backbends, such as Cobra or Sphinx Pose, before attempting Half Bow Pose.

What should I do if I feel pain in my back while practicing Half Bow Pose?

If you feel any pain or discomfort in your back while practicing Half Bow Pose, come out of the pose and take a break. It’s important to listen to your body and not push beyond what feels comfortable for you. You can try using props, such as a block or strap, to help you deepen the stretch without straining your back.

How long should I hold Half Bow Pose?

You can start by holding Half Bow Pose for 3-5 breaths, gradually working your way up to 10-15 breaths as you build strength and flexibility. It’s important to take breaks as needed and not overdo it.

Can I practice Half Bow Pose if I have a back injury?

If you have a back injury or condition, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting Half Bow Pose. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may need to avoid certain backbends or modify the pose with props.


  • Supported Half Bow Pose
  • One-Legged Half Bow Pose
  • Bow Pose
  • Reclined Half Bow Pose

Top Preparatory Poses

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.