4. Yoga Practice

Urdhva Dhanurasana – Upward Bow Pose.


Urdhva Dhanurasana – Upward Bow Pose.

Urdhva Dhanurasana Pose

  • Come to lie in the supine position, i.e. lying on the back
  • Bend the legs and place the feet hip distance apart and as close to the buttocks as is possible
  • Keep the toes of the feet pointing forward or ideally, slightly inwards, (this protects the lower back)
  • Bend the arms and place the hands on either side of the head at shoulder level with the fingers pointing down towards the shoulders and the feet
  • Keep the elbows tucked in towards the head
  • On the inhalation push onto the hands and the feet and lift the entire body off the floor simultaneously dropping the head and the neck down naturally
  • Stretch and straighten the legs and the arms as much as is possible and is comfortable
  • The body is supported only by the hands and the feet and the back is arched
  • Hold for as long as is comfortable
  • Release slowly on the exhalation by bending the arms and the legs


Urdhva Dhanurasana Stages

Counterpose / Pratikryasana:

  • Savasana
  • Hug knees towards the chest
  • Apanasana – legs bent, hands on knees, pushing knees away on inhalation until just the fingertips touch and bringing knees back to the chest on the exhalation, 5 – 10 rounds

Apanasana 1Apanasana 2








Cautions & Modifications:

  • This is quite a strenuous pose and more suited for intermediate or advanced students however as a beginner advances the following can be practised to gain strength in the arms and legs and to gain confidence in doing the classic pose:
  • Place 2 blocks right up against a wall
  • Lie down with the top of the head facing the wall
  • The blocks will be at shoulder level
  • Place the hands on the edges of the block with the base of the palms on the top part of the block and the fingers pointing down the front of the blocks
  • Position the legs as per the instructions above
  • On the inhalation push all of one’s weight / strength on the blocks and push the body off the floor as per the instructions above, then
  • Rest the top of the head onto the floor
  • The arms are supported by the blocks against the wall
  • If one is more confident one can lift further and take the crown of the head off the floor
  • Otherwise one can stay in the initial phase to accustom to the pose
  • Practising this version several times will give one more strength and confidence to advance further without the use of the blocks and the wall
  • It is advisable to start this version and advance under the guidance of an experienced teacher


  • Stretches the spine backwards fully
  • Rejuvenates and tones the spine
  • Helps to relieve back ache and recovery from spinal injuries
  • It is beneficial for lower back and sciatic pain when there is a slight displacement of the lumbar vertebrae, practising this asana helps to return the discs to the original position
  • Stretches the thigh muscles
  • Expands the chest which in turn facilitates and improves breathing
  • Corrects round drooping shoulders with regular practice
  • Tones and activates the kidneys
  • Strengthens the wrists and the arms
  • Stretches the legs particularly the hamstring muscles
  • Creates heat in the body
  • Relieves fatigue by re-energizing the body

Chakra Association:

Manipura, Anahata and Vishuddha, (as the neck is stretched and throat area opened by the position of the pose).

Wishing you health and healing.

Much Love,



Juanita CaprariJuanita Caprari is a certified Yoga teacher and Public Relations Practitioner. She started her Yoga practice in 2002. She has completed two Yoga Teacher Training Courses, the last one through Ananda Kutir Ashram and has been teaching Yoga since 2007. jcaprari@mweb.co.za or visit the website www.yogamala.co.za.