Backward Bends

Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose)

Side Bow Pose
Level: Intermediate

Parshva = side of the body, or flank. Dhanu = a bow.

Organizing the Pose

  1. Lie flat on the floor on the belly.
  2. Reach back and take hold of the ankles or the tops of the feet.
  3. Soften the buttocks and roll the tailbone towards the knees.
  4. Exhale and lift up into Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) by pressing the inner thighs up and the ankles back.
  5. Begin to rock to the left until you can pull your feet across the body and bring the left shoulder to floor.
  6. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds.
  7. Either go back to Dhanurasana and hold for a few moments before proceeding on, or rock all the way over to the other side.
  8. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds.
  9. Return to Dhanurasana and release.

Practice Points

  • Soften and widen the buttocks and the backs of the thighs.
  • Drop the top knee and press the ankle back behind and away from you.
  • Reach the top arm back behind you.
  • Catch the bottom shoulder on the floor and turn the head to look over the top shoulder.
  • Lengthen the tailbone towards the knees.
  • Widen the collarbones and shoulder blades.
  • Soften and widen the back of the neck.