Monday, June 16, 2014

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Morning Bow Pose

Come into Bow Pose, Dhanurasana, to build confidence, strengthen the spine, and in order to energize the body. Back-bends are good for mild depression, learning to open and expose the area of the “heart-space” rather than “closing-up” and protecting it.  “Dhanu” in Sanskrit means bow, while “asana” means pose.

A yoga teacher may sequence this pose as a “peak” posture: practicing many other poses before Bow Pose in order to properly prepare the body. Practicing a set of Sun Salutations, Surya Namaskar, as well as spine strengtheners like Cobra Pose, Bhujangasana, is recommended prior to moving into the full pose. Instructions for these poses are on this blog:  click here for Sun Salutation and click here for Cobra Pose.

To do Bow Pose, Dhanurasana: Come to lay on the belly on a yoga mat, towel or rug. Option to place a towel or blanket under the hips for comfort. Bring your chin to the mat. Bring the knees in line with the hips or hip-width distance. Kick the feet towards the glutes and grab onto the outside edges of the ankles. Use a strap as a modification if you can not reach your ankles. Feel the opening of the chest and draw the shoulders down the back.

Take a slow inhale and exhale in order to prepare for the pose. On an inhale breath, begin to lift the chest and thighs off of the mat, opening the front line of the body while the back of the body comes into a back-bend. Lift the heels up towards the ceiling and draw the low-belly in towards the spine to protect the low-back.

Draw the shoulders blades down the back and expand more across the area of the chest. Work to distribute the back-bend into all areas of the back, rather than to sharply bend in one area. Lift the sternum up towards the ceiling, so that the spine seems to grow taller, extending the spine towards the sky. Take 3-5 slow and smooth rounds of breath, one inhale and one exhale equals one-round.

Slowly come out and place the right ear on the mat. Option to “wind-shield” wiper the legs from side-to-side to release the low-back. Allow the breath to come back to normal. Option to take one more set of Bow Pose and release the left ear down to the mat, in order to bring balance into the body.

Modifications of Bow Pose include using a strap and moving into Ardha Dhanurasana or Half-Bow Pose.

To do Ardha Dhanurasana or Half-Bow Pose: Come to lay on the belly on a yoga mat, towel or rug. Option to bring a towel or blanket under the hips for comfort. Bring the left arm over the head, palm facing down. Kick the right foot towards the glutes and grab onto the ankle. Option to use a strap as a modification. Lift and extend the right thigh and heel towards the ceiling.

Option to also lift the left arm and left thigh off of the ground as an option to extend more throughout the spine. If taking this option, reach more length through the ball-mound of the foot. Feel the opening in the right shoulder and notice the expansion of the chest and in the spine. Draw the shoulders down the back and draw the low-belly in towards the spine. Take 3-5, long and smooth rounds of breath. Slowly come out of the pose and allow the right ear to rest on the mat. Allow the breath to calm and come back to normal. Repeat on the opposite leg and allow the left ear to rest on the mat.

Notice how you feel after cultivating the breath with mindful movements into your day. Transfer the qualities of practicing yoga into your day-to-day with more presence and intention and in a non-reactive fashion.

Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.

Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga

Christi Iacono is a certified yoga teacher, at the 500 hour level, and she is the owner of In Rhythms Yoga, in Clairemont. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mounts streets. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve their body. Contact for more info.

IRY offers regularly scheduled classes on, Sat., Sun. and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Go to to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.


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