The Bow Pose
It is true that yoga requires an engineer`s mind, architecture`s sense of balance and an archer`s perfection with a bend. Bow pose comes from the name of an archer`s bow, how carefully the accurate angle is formed in the bow to hit the perfect spot Is the theme behind the name of this pose.
The name signifies it all but we will still tell you that the Bow Pose is a natural back toner. It works for shoulder arm flexibility and thigh strength. The pose is difficult to practice with stiff muscles but continuous yoga sessions will ease up your muscles and let yoga be your own. With time you will be able to mould up the body however you will like it.
Basically the pose requires you to lift up the knees away from the ground while keeping the thighs parallel and extending the back of shoulders and arms to hold the suspended feet in the air. This pose will form an arch shape of your body, the one which is formed just before the archer is about to release the arrow.
Step One- preparing for the simultaneous shoulder knee lift: Lie on your belly on a comfortable folded blanket or a yoga blanket. With inhalation, take back the bent knees and try to raise them up from the ground such that they reach up to your buttocks. At this point, both your ankles are close to each other rather stuck and the hands extend back to hold the outer surface of the heels.
Second step- Lifting the knees and extending back shoulders: Now as you raise the heels in such a position, it will simultaneously lift the upper body and neck away from the floor. It will also extend back the neck and shoulder blades. Be careful not to put unnecessary pressure on the back muscles as the idea is not to stiffen them. It is important that the shoulder blades firmly extend outward away from the ears, pushing back against the spine. The arms remain firm and reach back without bending to hold both heels.
Third step: Maintain a patent airway: The idea of the pose is not to stop breathing rather continuous breathing should be necessarily maintained. Now if the lower belly is withholding a lot of pressure and is pressed tightly against the floor try to keep the upper chest muscles relaxed to maintain a patent airway during the exercise. Your neck is extended back but it remains firm in one position which means it neither falls back nor extends too much.
Rest up a little: Twenty to thirty second is the ideal time for this pose. Before doing the pose again you should give your body some rest.
Modifications: If it isn’t possible for you to hold your ankles directly, wrap a strap around the fronts of your ankles and hold the free ends of the strap, keeping your arms fully extended. You can increase the challenge of Archer’s Bow Pose by performing the pose with your thighs, calves, and inner feet touching.
Bow Pose stretches the entire front of the body while simultaneously strengthening every muscle in the back.
- This improves posture and spinal flexibility.
- The pose helps to open the chest, abdomen, quadriceps, ankles, groins, hip flexors, and throat.
- The body’s pressure on the abdomen positively stimulates the organs of digestion and reproduction, which helps to relieve constipation and menstrual discomfort.
- The deep chest stretch opens the lungs, helping to relieve respiratory ailments.
- It energizes and invigorates the body, mind, and spirit.
- Bow Pose also helps to relieve fatigue, stress, and anxiety.