Half Bow Pose
Ardha Dhanurasana or Half Bow Pose is a backbend that can be accessible to a lot of yogis. This posture can be done on the belly, or for more challenge from a standing posture. In half bow, one leg grounds and creates a foundation while the other bends to form the backbend. A hand reaches back to provide tension or traction with the foot. The spine lengthens first, then curves into the backbend, opening the heart. To ensure safe and enjoyable backbends be sure to warm up the quads, shoulders, chest, and back before practicing them.
Benefits of Half Bow Pose
The most obvious benefit of the dhanur-asana is that it restores flexibility to the spine. Half bow energizes and strengthens the entire body, and especially builds core body strength. Half bow stimulates the kidneys, adrenals and reproductive system. Regular practice will relieve lower back pain and release tension and strain in the upper back and neck area.
The alternating stretching and releasing of the abdominal muscles increases blood flow to this area and aids all sorts of digestive disorders and discomforts. Strain or fatigue in the legs is also released after a few repetitions. Extended practice will help develop upper-body strength. Do not use force or jerk while doing this asana.
How to Do Half Bow Pose (Ardha Dhanurasana)
- Lie on your belly, with the legs together or a few inches apart. Bring the chin to the floor and slide the right arm along the floor, over your head with the palm facing down.
- Bend the left knee and reach the left hand back to hold onto the left heel or ankle.
- Inhale and kick the left foot into the arm to lift the left leg, head and chest off of the floor. Keep the neck in line with the spine, looking down at the floor. Lift the right arm off of the floor, keeping it parallel to the floor.
- Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.
- To release: slowly exhale and lower the leg, arm, head and chest down to the floor.
- Repeat on other side.
Half Bow Pose for Beginners
Use a yoga strap looped around the foot and held with one hand.
Half Bow Pose for Advanced
Half Bow pose is an easier variation to full Bow. If you are able to do this easily and your legs and upper body are off the floor—and all that is touching the floor is your abdomen—then you can begin to inhale with your abdomen until you feel your body rocking back and forth like a cradle. If this is really easy and your body is relaxed in this position, bring your knees closer together. If possible, bring them together for the perfect posture.
Once you get into this posture and it’s comfortable, you will start to breathe in and out, in and out (slow enough to roll, but not so slow that you hardly move). You will feel your abdomen expand and your body roll forward forward with inhalation. With exhalation, your body will roll back and your solar plexus will be high up. Try it. You will want to do it every day, because it feels so good. This breath technique in the Bow Posture will only work when you have your thighs and upper body both off the floor. Please do not attempt to do the abdominal breathing to roll naturally as a result, until you can come all the way up.