What is Dhanurasana?

Dhanurasana is a backbend that deeply opens the chest and the front of the body. In this asana, the practitioner lies flat on the stomach and bends the knees. Then the arms reach back to grab the ankles. The back arches and the thighs lift off of the floor as the chest pushes forward, stretching the body to resemble a bow.

Dhanurasana requires quite a bit of balancing ability. Hence, it is advisable to get accustomed to simpler poses before you attempt Dhanurasana. The bow pose has many benefits for yoga practitioners such as improving the digestion process by stretching the abdominal muscles and strengthening ankles, thighs, shoulders, and neck. You can learn more about the types of Dhanurasana, its benefits, and precautions in this article.

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All About Dhanurasana Yoga (Bow Pose)

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23 Dec 2021

 What is Dhanurasana?

The Dhanurasana is one of the 12 basic poses mentioned in Hatha Yoga. It is a Sanskrit word that means ‘bow pose’ in English. ‘Dhanur’ is the Sanskrit word for ‘bow.’ The pose is named so because it resembles an archer’s bow. Since this pose requires quite a bit of balancing ability, it is advisable to get accustomed to simpler poses before you attempt the bow pose.

Types of Dhanurasana

The Dhanurasana is a fairly advanced pose by itself. In addition to the basic version of the bow pose, there are also several variations of the Dhanurasana that you can attempt as you get more comfortable with the basic version of the pose. Here are some of the most common variations of the Dhanurasana.

Parsva Dhanurasana

Parsva Dhanurasana is also called the side bow pose. Here, the Dhanurasana is performed with the body rolled on to one side.

Purna Dhanurasana

In Purna Dhanurasana or the complete bow pose, the body is bent fully so that the feet are brought in contact with the head.

Urdhva Dhanurasana

The Urdhva Dhanurasana or the upward-facing bow pose is also called Chakrasana. Here, you begin in a standing position and bend backward till your palms touch the ground.

How to Practice the Dhanurasana?

Before you attempt the bow pose, it is a good idea to master preparatory poses like the Bhujangasana and Salabhasana. Once you have gotten comfortable with those poses, you can get started with the yoga bow pose according to the steps outlined below. Remember to follow these steps in order, so you can get a good grip on the Dhanurasana.


Step 1: Lie down flat on your stomach and place your hands parallel to your torso, with the palms facing upward. Your feet should be hip-width apart.


Step 2: Inhale deeply and lift your feet off the ground, bending your legs at the knees.


Step 3: Simultaneously, lift your hands off the ground and hold your ankles gently. Keep your feet hip width apart for better balance.


Step 4: Once you have steadied yourself in this pose, lift your chest and shoulders further upward, as much as you can. Simultaneously, work towards bringing your feet closer to your back too. Remember to keep your head facing forward and your abdomen pressed against the floor.


Step 5: Hold this pose for a few seconds, inhale and exhale deeply, and gently release your ankles. Then, lower your feet, your chest and head back on the ground.


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Dhanurasana Benefits

The benefits of Dhanurasana are many and varied. You can start to experience the positive effects of this pose within a few days of regular practice itself. However, keep in mind that to enjoy long-lasting benefits from the Dhanurasana, you need to include this pose in your regular stretching routine.


Here are some ways in which the Dhanurasana can benefit you.


  • Stretches the abdominal muscles and improves the digestion process

  • Improves the strength in your ankles, thighs, chest, neck and shoulders

  • Helps tone your abdominal region

  • Tones your back and improves spinal flexibility

  • Helps open up your chest region and facilitates better breathing

  • Alleviates neck strain and helps cure neck pain

 Beginner’s Tips for Dhanurasana

For any beginner who is attempting the bow pose for the first time, it is important to be aware of certain important pointers. If you are trying the Dhanurasana as a beginner, here are some such essential tips to help you get the pose just right.


  • You can place a pillow or a folded blanket under your thighs to make it easier for you to lift your legs off the ground when you attempt the bow pose for the first time.


  • If you are unable to reach your ankles, try and lift your legs higher rather than forcing your upper body backward. This is because the key aim of the bow pose is to work your leg muscles.

How often should I do Dhanurasana?

If you do not suffer from any health issues or back problems, you can practice the Dhanurasana everyday as a part of your daily yoga routine. However, if you are just getting started, you can attempt the bow pose every other day, or thrice a week.

Precautions to take to perform Dhanurasana

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned yoga practitioner, it is necessary to take certain precautions when you are getting into this asana. Here are some things you should take care of when performing the Dhanurasana.


  • Do not stretch your upper or lower body beyond the point of comfort. If you find yourself straining to reach your ankles, take it slowly and make use of pillows or padded blocks for support.

  • In case you suffer from neck problems or have lower back injuries, this may not be the right asana for you, since it could aggravate those issues.

  • Hold your ankles gently. Do not press too hard, since that could interfere with circulation.


The bow pose has many benefits for yoga practitioners. If you are just getting started with your yoga practice, you can slowly integrate the Dhanurasana and its many variations in your daily routine. In addition to this, remember to buy a health insurance plan on Bajaj Markets today, so your finances and your health are well-protected.

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FAQs on Dhanurasana

  • ✔️ What is the meaning of the term ‘Dhanurasana’?

     The term Dhanurasana is a Sanskrit word that means ‘bow pose’ in English.  

  • ✔️Can beginners perform the Dhanurasana?

     Yes, beginners can perform the Dhanurasana by following the steps outlined above. However, it is advisable to first get a hang of the preparatory poses for this asana before you try the bow pose.

  • ✔️What muscles does the Dhanurasana use?

     The Dhanurasana or the bow pose makes use of the muscles across your body, right from your calves, hamstrings and gluteal muscles to your back muscles, shoulder and neck muscles.  

  • ✔️How long should I hold the Dhanurasana?

     Ideally, you can start off by holding the bow pose for around 10 seconds. Once you get more accustomed to the pose, you can remain in this asana for 15 to 20 seconds, or even for 30 seconds.

  • ✔️Can people with lower back problems perform the Dhanurasana?

     If compressing the nerves in your lower back causes you pain or discomfort, it is advisable to refrain from performing the Dhanurasana since it could aggravate those issues.