As elegant looking as a prima ballerina or primo ballerino, the Standing Bow Pose can be breathtaking when performed correctly. Also known as Dandayamana-Dhanurasana, this popular yoga posture, a favorite among many, requires great balance, flexibility, and strength.
Essentially a standing backbend, this Bikram posture has several benefits for the body and mind. Even if your dance moves never got you into Juilliard or won you first place in the school talent show, you can still master this posture with grace, or for those of us who only know the electric slide, practice!
Here is what we cover in this article:
Performing the Standing Bow Pose
1: Begin by standing straight on your mat with your feet hip-width apart. Inhale and raise your arms over your head with your palms facing each other.
2: Exhale and shift your weight onto your right foot. Lift your left leg off the ground and bring it behind you, keeping your knee bent and moving your heel toward your buttocks.
3: Reach your left hand back and grab your left ankle with all five fingers from the inner side of your body. Keep your right arm extended and parallel to the floor with your palm facing down.
4: Inhale and lift your left leg slowly, bending at the hips while extending it straight behind you. At the same time, stretch your right arm forward.
5: Maintain your balance and hold this position for a few breaths or however long your instructor specifies.
6: Exhale and slowly lower your leg and arms back to the starting position.
7: Repeat on the other side.
The great thing about yoga is that you can practice at any level. With every pose, there are several modifications that will make the posture more comfortable or accommodate restrictions. Although the Standing Bow Pose is considered more advanced, using some of the tips below may help until you reach that level.
- Use a chair for support: If you’re having trouble with balance, place a chair in front of you for support. You can grip the back of the chair as you bring your leg up. Although you won’t be able to bend as far forward, you can still get a thorough stretch while keeping the knee slightly bent.
- Use a strap: If you have difficulty reaching your ankle with your hand, use a strap to help extend your reach. Loop the strap around your ankle and pull the strap towards the back of your head. You can even start out using both hands if that helps with your reach.
- Use a block or hand wheel: If you have trouble balancing or maintaining proper form, you may use a block or wheel to support your hand. Place the block/wheel on the floor before your feet and rest your free hand upon it for support.
Benefits to Your Health
Bikram Yoga can be incredibly rewarding, and each individual posture has its own unique set of benefits. The Standing Bow Pose is no different! In fact, it is known as the perfect tourniquet pose because it transfers circulation from one side of your body to the other. As a result, this process helps to push blood through the arteries and flush them out, releasing toxins and making it easier to deliver nutrients and oxygen.
Here are some other top benefits of practicing Dandayamana-Dhanurasana:
- Improves balance: The Standing Bow Pose challenges your balance and helps strengthen your body’s stability and coordination.
- Strengthens leg muscles: This pose targets the muscles in your legs, including your quads, hamstrings, and calves, helping to tone and strengthen.
- Improves flexibility: This posture requires flexibility in the hips, shoulders, and back, which can improve overall flexibility and range of motion, especially elasticity in your spine.
- Increases lung capacity: The Standing Bow Pose requires deep breathing, which can help expand your lung capacity and improve your respiratory function.
- Helps correct posture: This exercise helps stretch the spine and chest, improving your posture and relieving tension in the neck and shoulders.
Tips for Proper Execution
Now that you know how to perform the Standing Bow Pose and its benefits, it is time to discuss some helpful tips that will assist you with your practice. From proper form to a focused mind, consider the following before striking this pose:
- Lock your knee: It is critical to make sure that your knee is continuously locked on your standing leg.
- Take it slow: Do not force a split. Instead, take the stretch nice and slow making gradual movements.
- Keep a firm grip: Make sure you grab the ankle at the joint and maintain your grip with all fingers throughout the pose.
- Focus on your breath: Deep breathing is essential. Take deep breaths in and out through your nose to help maintain balance and improve your focus.
- Keep your shoulders down: It’s easy to let your shoulders hunch up during this pose, which can lead to strain and tension in your neck and shoulders. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed.
- Keep your hips level: Make sure your hips are level and square to the front of your mat. Avoid twisting or tilting your hips to one side.
Looking to Practice Your Moves?
Bikram yoga takes time and persistence to master. Attending classes regularly is the best way to improve your form and ability. Not only will that help you reap more benefits, but it will also give you an opportunity to work with a knowledgeable instructor who can correct any improper technique.
YogaSol offers Bikram Yoga Classes multiple times a week in both 90 and 75-minute sessions. We encourage you to book a class today and come visit us. Whether you are a beginner or a devout yoga enthusiast, we welcome you!
Not only do our 26 & 2 classes cover all 26 Bikram Yoga Postures, including the Standing Bow, but we also offer Hot Pilates, Pilates Cardio, and Hot Yoga Express. Plus, we maintain a judgment-free zone where all can feel comfortable, even those of us who stole our epic moves from MC Hammer himself.
FAQs About Standing Bow Pose
What if I sweat too much in front of others?
Sweating and hot yoga go hand in hand. Even the most experienced Yogis will sweat. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, there are many benefits to sweating!
What if I lose my focus and fall out of the pose?
It can sometimes be challenging to focus, especially with how busy our lives are. However, learning to concentrate and tune things out is all part of practicing yoga. If you lose focus, bring your mind back to your pose and try again.
I’m worried I won’t be able to keep up with the class. Will I feel left behind?
The great thing about yoga is that everyone can go at their own pace. Several modifications can be made to assist with overly challenging poses. And, of course, you will never be forced to push beyond your limits.