The word “Dhanurasana” is derived from two Sanskrit words “Dhanura” which means “Bow” and “Asana” which means “pose.” The body takes the shape of a bow while performing it and hence the name “Dhanurasana.” The basic movement includes pulling the arms back and holding the feet, then raising the head, chest, and thighs up together to frame a bend or a bow shape.
The Bhagavad Gita is a Yogic scripture which is basically a conversation between “Arjuna” and “Krishna.” In the “Mahabharata,” when Arjuna had to kill his relatives, his bow slips, and falls. Then Krishna tells him that he must fulfill his dharma as a warrior and fight against evil. He explains to Arjuna that he must approach both happiness and detachment as they will come and go throughout his life. He advises Arjuna to surrender to him, as he is the divine personification. The results of every action will be worthwhile as it is done as a gift to the Divine.
In Dhanurasana the body is made to look like an archer’s bow.So, let us practice as the Gita suggests. This practice is not about right or wrong, but about exploration and curiosity of a human being.
Steps to do Dhanurasana:
- Utkatasana (Fierce pose): This is a warm-up pose which will generate heat and stability in your body and legs. Stand with both the feet together and keep the weight evenly distributed through both feet. Fold forward. Clasp your hands behind the back so that the palms press together. Draw the shoulder bones toward each other and reach your clasped hands away from your back. Keep the shoulders away from the ears and keep it stretched. Bend and press your knees together and lift your chest from your thighs.O the following exhalation, overlap forward fold forward by straightening your legs and discharging the crown of your head towards the floor. Repeat this process five times which seemingly finishes into Uktatasana.
- To start Dhanurasana, lie on your stomach with arms along the sides and your palms up.
- Relaxing in this position, take a few breaths before starting to practice Dhanurasana.
- Breathe in profoundly and twist your legs in reverse, reach back and get hold of both the lower legs with separate hands.
- Raise your Torso and thighs while holding the lower legs with hands.
- In this position, your body will be curved in the shape of a bow.
- While being in this position, look forward and concentrate on a point.
- Now the whole body is resting on the abdomen.
- Keep up your breathe while being in Dhanuarasana. Keep on taking long and full breaths while being in this position and attempt to unwind in this last position of Dhanurasana.
- Do not over stretch. Stretch and bend only till your body permits.
- Hold this position for 15-20 breaths.
- Now exhale and lower your body. Leave the ankles.
- Rest for a couple of breaths while lying on your stomach and hands in front of your head and chin should rest on the ground.
Benefits of Dhanurasana:
- Strengthens the back and abdominal muscles.
- Helps in regulating the Pancreas and hence useful for diabetic people.
- Keeps the digestive and reproductive system healthy.
- Increases the appetite.
- Improves blood circulation and increases the movement of hips and shoulders.
- Increases the functioning of the Liver, Pancreas, Intestines and can cure constipation if practiced regularly.
- Cures back pain.
- Reduces fatigue and keeps the individual dynamic and vigorous.
- Effective in weight loss.
- Cures menstruation disorder.
- Improves posture.
- Acts as a stress reliever.
Precautions for Dhanurasana:
- People suffering from high blood pressure, back pain, headache, migraine, abdomen surgery, neck injuries should not practice Dhanurasana.
Women should not practice Dhanurasana during pregnancy and in periods.