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Dhanurasana: Procedure and Benefits

Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh > Blog > Yoga > Dhanurasana: Procedure and Benefits
Dhanur=Bow; Asana= posturePracticing Urdhva Dhanurasana (Backward Bends) is a deep backbend that need  dedication and some real effort to practice. If you  do regular practice you will feel more alive and strong. Dhanurasana comes from dhanu which means a bow. As the bow is fully arched when shooting the arrow, same is the condition in which the body is taken while doing this posture. The rear muscles of the body are contracted to their capacity so as to get maximum lengthening in the front. The chest is expanded fully and thus breathing capacity improves.

How to do ?

1. Dhanurasana is a prone posture so the base position is prone, lying down on abdomen with hands to the sides and forehead on the floor.

2. Take a deep breath in and out and listen to your heartbeat. Relax

3. Flex the knees and try to get hold of your ankles with your hands from outside. Press the feet gently down to the hips in order to prepare knees for this position.

4. With a deep inhalation, hold your breath inside and start contracting the muscles in the shoulder blades, middle and lower back, hips and hamstrings as you lift the whole body up while balancing on the abdomen.

5. The reverse force of the arms and legs will keep the body in a proportion. In simple language, pull the legs with your arms upwards and towards you while gently resisting with the legs. This will generate a engage the extensors in the rear portion of the body and helps in toning them as well.

6. As you reach up to final position, exhale and continue to breath naturally. The breath is definetly going to be short and fast. Let it be like this for the first few instances as the body adapts to the posture. Gradually with the time work on relaxing the breath and making it deeper. It will require some time and dedicated efforts to achieve that. The diaphragm will be under tension as it is expanded and its extensive use in the initial stages of practise will imbalance the asana. So let the breath be natural without intending to breath in the diaphragm forcefully.

7. Stay in the engaged position for minimum 15 seconds. As you start coming out, take a deep inhalation and with a prolonged and controlled exhalation (preferably ujjayi) start releasing the contraction in the muscles, coming down in the base position. Check your breath and heartbeat again. Relax

8. Do 3 repetitions with a break of 15 seconds each time.

Benefits:

Facet joints in the spinal column are supplied with fresh blood supply and they are nourished. The muscles of back specially errector spinae, trapezius, rhomboids are all worked out nicely in order to reaffirm their role in maintenance of posture. Dhanurasana reestablishes the connections of brain with the rest of the body by toning and stimulating the nerves than passes through each vertebral section and thus taking away lethargy and Tamas guna from the system. Overall its a highly energizing and nourishing asana.
People with severe disc and spinal conditions should try to do the basic version of the posture. It is helpful in back conditions but given the fact that it is introduced after a nice preparatory work.

  1. Effective in weight loss.
  2. Improves digestion and appetite.
  3. Gives flexibility to the back.
  4. Strengthens back muscles.
  5. Helps to cure dyspepsia (obesity), rheumatism and gastrointestinal problems.
  6. Cures constipation.
  7. Helpful is stimulating reproductive organs.
  8. Improve function of the pancreas and it is beneficial in diabetes.
  9. Improves blood circulation.
  10. Improve function of kidney and liver.
  11. It improves posture.
  12. Releases back pain.
  13. Improve the function of liver, pancreas, small intestine and big intestine.
  14. Act as a stress reliever.
  15. Strengthens ankles, thighs, groins, chest, and abdominal organs.
  16. Cure menstruation disorder.
  17. Cures respiratory disorder like asthama.

Note: Those having cardiac issues and chronic high blood pressure should avoid the asana altogether.