Definition – What does Bow Pose mean?
Bow pose is a heart-opening yoga pose that stretches the entire front of the body, strengthens the back and abdominal muscles as well as stimulates the abdominal organs.
To enter the pose, lie face down with hands alongside the torso, the knees are bent, bringing the heels close to the buttocks. The hands reach back and take hold of the ankles, then the heels lift away from the buttocks as the thighs lift off of the floor. The upper torso and head are lifted as well, so the body balances on the abdomen, gaze pointed forward.
This pose has been named after the shape the body takes – that of a bow. The Sanskrit name for bow pose is dhanurasana.
On explains Bow Pose
In addition to stretching, bow pose also offers the following benefits for the whole body:
- Opens the shoulders, chest and hip flexors
- Strengthens the upper back
- Massages the digestive organs
- Eases menstrual discomfort
- Improves digestion
There is a variation of this pose wherein one shoulder is dipped toward the floor and the whole body rolls over to the side. One can also deepen the pose by practicing it with the thighs, knees, calves and ankles touching. If it is too difficult to reach the ankles, beginners can use a strap. The thighs can be supported with a blanket if, at the beginning, it is not possible to lift them off the floor.
Bow pose should not be practiced by anyone with high or low blood pressure, hernia, neck injury, migraines or recent abdominal surgery. Pregnant women should avoid practicing this pose as well.