January is now upon us and it is the start of a new year. I have never had resolutions or goals set at this time of the year, I have always felt that a beginning should be enjoyed and savored. Needless to say coming up with a pose for this month was a little challenging, but BE HOLD: THE BOW POSE ( Dhanurasana). This pose for sure looks intimaditing and challinging ( kind of like a new beginning), but I can assure you that it is simple. There are many differnt modificarions to this pose to make it attainable for most. If you suffer from disc issues or abdomaonal disorders then this may not be the pose for you ( don't worry, feel free to contact me and we can find modifications and other benificial poses for you).
Benifits of Bow Pose ( Dhanurasana)
Reduces stress and anxiety
Opens up the chest
Stretches the shoulders and thighs
Helps to cultivate breathing
Regulates the body and keeps things running smoothly
Helps to stimulate the Solar Pleus ( Manipura Chakra)
As you can see from above there are plenty of benifits for ths pose.. Now lets get into the pose, but first we need to make sure that we have warmed up the proper areas. Since this pose can be intense. After somepleting a couple rounds of Sun Salutaion A and B, the following poses should be performed first to "warm up" the areas for Bow Pose.
Poses to do before Bow Pose
Once you feel warmed up its time to move into our Bow:
This pose is so called Bow because it looks like an archer's bow, the torso and legs representing the body of the bow, and the arms the string. So when you are relaxing into the pose, remember you are strong like an archer bow, you bend and strech, maintaining your streghth.
Step 1.) Lie on your belly with your hands alongside your torso, palms up. (You can lie on a folded blanket to pad the front of your torso and legs.) Exhale and bend your knees, bringing your heels as close as you can to your buttocks. Reach back with your hands and take hold of your ankles (but not the tops of the feet). Make sure your knees aren't wider than the width of your hips, and keep your knees hip width for the duration of the pose.
Step 2.) Inhale and strongly lift your heels away from your buttocks and, at the same time, lift your thighs away from the floor. This will have the effect of pulling your upper torso and head off the floor. Burrow the tailbone down toward the floor, and keep your back muscles soft. As you continue lifting the heels and thighs higher, press your shoulder blades firmly against your back to open your heart. Draw the tops of the shoulders away from your ears. Gaze forward.
Step 3.) With the belly pressed against the floor, breathing will be difficult. Breathe more into the back of your torso, and be sure not to stop breathing.
Stay in this pose anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds. Release as you exhale, and lie quietly for a few breaths. You can repeat the pose once or twice more.
Remember, straps and blankets can be used to help achieve the pose, or modifiy it. Keep in mind none of us know how to do this pose right out of the gate, it takes time and practice, you are using muscles that you normally do not use. Below are some follow up poses to do after Bow. That is the beauty of yoga, all of your muscles and all of these poses help build up to something else.
Follow Up Poses:
Upward Facing Dog
Now go forth and see what your body is capibable of!