* Expands chest and shoulders
* Mobilizes spine
* Stretch hip flexors and core musculature
* Stretch front of shins
* Strengthen gluteus muscles of the hip and hamstrings at the back of the thigh
* Strengthen low back musculature
* Relieves some forms of low back pain
* Therapeutic for asthma, opening accessory muscles of breathing
* Traditionally thought to tone the abdominal organs and stimulate organs of the neck
* Low Back pain aggravated by extension
* Avoid one sided Bow in cases of Sacroiliac Joint irritation
* Shoulder impingement or a history of shoulder dislocation
* Neck pain or discomfort
* If you are feeling pinching in the lower back or sacrum, back off and re-enter by focusing on the elongation of the spine. If you are still feeling pinching, it may be due to tight quadriceps or hip flexors. Try the one sided variation below.
* Your knees should be comfortable in this pose. If you are feeling pain or discomfort ensure your feet are strongly flexed and your knees are not deviating out to the side, but staying hip width apart.
* Variation: One sided Bow. This is a nice option for people with tight hip flexors, tight shoulders or stiff spines that make it challenging to grasp both ankles at the same time
1. Lie on your stomach and prop yourself up with your left elbow in front of you, forearm on the mat, palm down. Your right arm is by your side, palm up.
2. Roll both shoulders onto the back, moving shoulder blades together. Press the top of the left foot into the mat so that all 5 toe nails are touching the earth. Bend your right knee and reach back and grasp the ankle with the foot flexed. Keep the knee in line with the hip.
3. Inhale and lengthen the spine. Gently press the foot back into the hand feeling the torso lift. Breathe.
4. If you feel pain in the low back or sacrum, come out of the pose and stay with the full version of the pose.
5. Exhale and slowly release the foot. Lie quietly for a few moments and switch sides.
Yoga Pose Article written by Dr. Robin Armstrong:Dr. Robin Armstrong is a Vancouver chiropractor and yoga instructor. Robin blends her western knowledge gained from her experience as a chiropractor, with the ancient eastern knowledge passed through generations of yoga teachers. Robin’s classes emphasize safety, breath, alignment, and movement, while teaching students ways to strengthen and lengthen their bodies to handle the stresses of our modern lifestyle. If you are coming to her as a patient, expect to be prescribed yoga! Learn more about Dr. Armstrong at www.stayactive.ca
dhanu = bow
1. Lie on your stomach with your arms by your side, palms facing upwards.
2. Roll your shoulders onto your back so that the heads of your arm bones lift off the floor and the shoulder blades move towards each other. Bend both knees so that the feet move towards the buttocks.
3. With as little twisting as possible grasp your ankles with your hands. You can flex your feet to make a handle. Avoid holding the foot itself.
4. Exhale and contract through the abdominal region in order to lengthen the lower back and bring support to the spine. Inhale and lengthen out through the crown of your head. At the same time, keeping the knees hip width apart, press the feet back into the hands, creating a natural lift.
5. With each breath press the heels back and up, gradually increasing the back bend, keeping the spine long. Maintain the supportive contraction of the abdominal muscles to counter any pressure going into the lower spine.
6. Hold for 5 breaths or more.
7. Exhale and slowly release the feet. Lie quietly for a few moments. Repeat if desired.