Dhanurasana

FOUR*

Dhanu means a bow. The hands here are used like a bowstring to pull the head, trunk and legs up and the posture resembles a bent bow.

TECHNIQUE

1. Lie full length on the floor on the stomach, face downwards.

2. Exhale and bend the knees. Stretch the arms back and hold the left ankle with the left hand and the right ankle with the right hand. Take two breaths.

3. Now exhale completely and pull the legs up by raising the knees above the floor, and simultaneously lift the chest off the floor. The arms and hands act like a bow-string to tauten the body like a bent bow. (Plate 28)

4. Lift up the head and pull it as far back as possible. Do not rest either the ribs or the pelvic bones on the floor. Only the abdomen bears the weight of the body on the floor.

5. While raising the legs do not join them at the knees, for then the legs will not be lifted high enough. After the full stretch upwards has been achieved, join together the thighs, the knees and the ankles.

6. Since the abdomen is extended, the breathing will be fast, but do not worry about it. Stay in the pose to your capacity from 20 seconds to one minute.

7. Then, with an exhalation, release the ankles, stretch the legs straight, bring the head and the legs back to the floor and relax.

30

3. With an exhalation, raise the whole body a few inches above the floor, balancing it on the hands and the toes. (Plate 29) Keep the body stiff as a staff, parallel to the floor from head to heel and the knees taut. Stay for some time with normal breathing.

4. Then gradually extend the whole body forward so that the feet rest on the upper portion of the toes on the floor. (Plate 30)

5. Stay in the pose for about 30 seconds with normal or deep breathing. The movement may be repeated several times. Then relax on the floor.

EFFECTS

The pose strengthens the arms and the wrists develop mobility and power. It also contracts and tones the abdominal organs.

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