This new series of blog posts features tips and tricks by teachers and students, each of whom has mastered a specific posture in the Bikram Yoga series! Think of it as an “insider’s guide” to doing the poses – each week you’ll learn something new that will help you advance your own practice!

Posture: Floor Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

Expert: BYV Teacher Michelle Y.

Here are my personal tips on Bow Pose:
  • In the setup, make sure the distance between your knees and your feet is within shoulder width. The dialogue recommends six inches between the knees and the feet but, depending on your body and your level of practice, that may be too difficult (especially for beginners). When you think about it, six inches is actually a very short amount.
  • The dialogue also emphasizes that you should keep your wrists straight when you grab your feet. You can achieve this by only grabbing your feet with your fingers, not your palms. The “heels” of the palms shouldn’t be touching either foot.
  • Make sure your hips aren’t tilted to one side; if your hips are not aligned before you begin the posture, one leg will be higher than the other when you kick up.
  • One thing I notice some students doing in the setup is pointing their toes toward the ceiling, which is wrong. Point or flex them toward the mirror in the setup.
  • Now you’re ready to start the pose. Slowly kick first before looking up; once you feel like your legs can’t go any higher, then start to look up to lift your chest up (where your eyes go, the body will follow). Your shoulders have to be relaxed and remember not to pull with your arms – just hold onto your feet as tightly as possible with your fingers and your legs will do all the work. Don’t be afraid to play with your shoulders; they might roll up or down when you relax them, depending on how flexible you are.
  • Slowly roll forward until the top part of the abdomen is touching the floor.
  • Try to relax your neck and drop your head back as much as possible.
  • If you want/need to, check yourself out in the mirror for a quick second, to make sure your toes are not turning in toward each other (like the letter A). If they are, turn them out so that they look more like the number 11.
  • How high you kick depends on the flexibility of your spine, but try to look for your toes and use equal strength in both legs to kick.

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