Dhanurasana, or Urdva Chakrasana or bow pose as it may be called, is a yoga pose that makes the body look like a bow because of lieing on stomach and holding the feet with hands while stretching out. The Sanskrit word Dhanurasana is a combination of two words. Dhanu means bow and asana means to seat or posture. The asana looks similar to an archer stringing the bow.
In Ramayana we read about breaking the great Dhanush by Rama, which was given by Parsurama to king Janak. In Mahabharata, Arjun’s dhanush, Gandiv was also very powerful. From these great stories Dhanu stands for power. In the 19th century, the same yoga posture was called Nyubjasana. There is a mention of Nyubjasana in Srittattvanidhi. That pose was modified and became half tone pose which was mentioned in the Yogasopana Purvacatuska, written in 1905. There it was described quoting the Gheranda Samhita.
In this yoga, the posture of hands and legs form a curve like bow. It gives our internal organs a good massage. Body flexibility increases with this asana. It is also fruitful for weight loss and treatment of asthma.
To do this yoga, we have to lie on the belly using hands next to torso and palms are up. We have to bend our knees and bring heels to close to the buttocks. We can exhale at this time. Then we can reach back with the hands and get hold of the ankles. In this time we have to maintain the width of knees with the hip width. When we lift the heels from the buttocks, we can inhale. At a time we should lift head and thighs from the floor. We have to keep the back muscles very soft and press the shoulder tightly against the back. When the tops of shoulders are away from the ears, we can gaze forward. In this pose as the belly pressed alongside the floor, the breathing may be difficult. But we have to ensure that the breathing must go on. We can hold this pose from twenty to thirty seconds. After that we can release, lie quietly on the floor and exhale for breathe.
As the whole body is curved during this asana, the breathing can be difficult. So, before starting the asana we should exhale properly. In time of raising the body up, we can inhale deeply. We should continue slow inhaling and exhaling in time of maintaining the proper pose. After releasing the posture, we can exhale for breathe. If the breathing is difficult to maintain slowly, during the yoga, one should not continue this.
After curving in the propose we can hold it for 15 to 20 seconds. It will give the better result. After that we can release the posture and relax.
Treating asthma: This asana helps people to remove the hunching bent of asthmatic patients. It will lead the free air flow through nose. As the chest is expanded during this, the breathing capacity is increased.
Cure back pain: If we do the posture properly we have to press the shoulder tightly against the back. As a result it brings good stretch to nerve, ligaments and muscles. This is needed for relief from back pain. It gives strength to back muscles, gives elasticity to back and rejuvenates the spinal column.
Weight loss: It is a great solution for obesity. This yoga stretches our abdominal side and abdomen. As the belly is pressed alongside the floor during the pose, the belly fat reduces. If people practice it regularly, it helps to burn body fat. It also gives a toned shape to body.
Digestion: as this asana has a great effect on abdominal portion, it helps in functioning of overall abdominal organs. It massages our liver and helps in proper digestion of food. It increases our appetite also.
Kidney function: If people practice this yoga regularly it will effective in proper kidney functioning.
Cleansing of blood: When we perform this asana the whole body is stretched. From head to toe the nerves are active. So, in overall body and various organs blood circulates properly.
Increase of Energy: For reducing lethargythis yoga is very effective. This directly works on solar plexus at naval area. As a result the working of reproductive, eliminative and digestive organs get improved.
Apart from these, this yoga also helps in curing menstruation disorders, keeps liver, intestine and pancreas safe, strengthen different body parts and also gives them a good shape.
The muscles benefited for this yoga
- Lower back
- Middle back
- Upper back
- Arms and shoulders
- Biceps and triceps
The people who are suffering from chronic back pain, high blood pressure, headache, migraine, hernia or abdomen surgery, should not practice Dhanurasana. During Pregnancy and when menstruating, women are not allowed to practice this. If suffering from stomach ache or diarrhea this should not be practiced.
Dhanurasana is a posture that includes other helpful yogas too, like Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, Bhujangasana, Salabhasana, Viarasana, Supta Virasana and Urddha Mukha Svanasana.
The follow up poses of this yoga is Matsyasana, Chakrasana, Ustrasana etc.
To summarise, it is a yoga pose useful for abdomen, throax, throat, ankle, Inguinal region, Psoas major muscle and the front side of the body. Yoga itself is a very effective thing for all people and not only this yoga, everyone should practice other yogas too, according their needs or doctor suggestions to stay fit.