Posture of the Month: Standing Bow Pulling Pose

bikram

“Next is standing bow pulling pose.”

…right about now in class you’re living your life, enjoying that beautiful sensation in the backs of the legs after doing the standing head to knee pose. Yet while you’re in the standing head to knee pose pulling your foot towards your face, everyone’s in such a state of suffering. But now you’ve got that circulation coursing through the backs of the legs and you’re feeling fresh. The key here, before we even begin standing bow pulling pose, is to completely relax. “This is the technique of hard exertion then complete relaxation is the key to the kingdom of health” (Choudhury p. 52). 

So here goes. Standing bow pulling pose. Dandayamana danyurasana.

Feet together, touching each other. Bring your right hand out to the right with your elbow touching your ribcage. As you do this, turn your upper arm from inside to outside to open up your right chest and shoulder from the beginning.  For some, even this setup is torture. Use the wall if you need to for balance. Use a strap to grab your foot at first if you can’t reach the foot. Make sure your elbow faces out though. No matter what.

Grab your right foot from the inside, at the ankle with your five fingers together, like a hook. Feel that right shoulder open up like a flower petal blooming as the upper arm turns from inside to out. Hold the ankle with a firm grip, yet allow complete flexibility in the shoulder. Lift and expand the chest big.

Tailbone lengthens, lower back expands to bring your knees together, touching each other. Stretch the front of your kicking thigh. Two knees in one line. Two hips in one line.

Look at that chest lift as B.K.S Iyengar executes this advanced version of the pose.

Yogacharya B.K.S Iyengar demonstrates major chest lift in this advanced version of the pose.

Left arm up. Shoulder touching your chin. Imagine your triceps and your face are Siamese twins, glued together. This teaches us to puff up the chest. Look at Think very deeply about this one because it’s often a missing link during execution.

Kick the right leg back and up, now that you’ve got a solid set up. Two hips in one line, squared forward. Kicking knee and hip pointing down to the floor, foot pointed hard. Don’t let the right knee come out to the side. Kick straight back. As you kick back, push the right foot out and into the right hand. Kick the foot INTO the right hand. Resist the kick with your right hand. This will create a dynamic tension between the hand and the foot. This is fuel for your kick, fuel for the pose.

What happened to chin shoulder chest lifting? Just checking. 

Standing Bow - Develops Concentration and Patience

Great abdomen chest parallel to the floor in this pose executed by HYP instructor Thayne.

Now bring your body down from the lower spine so your abdomen and chest are parallel to the floor. Stretch down through your standing leg inner thigh to keep your balance as you move into a parallel position.

Stretch your left arm forward. Touch your SHOULDER on your CHIN. Here it is again. That really hard action that is gonna teach you to fill up your chest. No one said it was easy.

Roll your right side ribcage under to get a spine twist action. Here, you might want to remind yourself one of our key philosophies of practice: Keep trying. The right way. Then you get all the benefits. Today. Right now. 

Come down to your maximum chest down position. Now. Here you are. In the pose.  Kick up with your maximum energy and match the kick with an equally powerful stretch. Breathe normal. Hold still. Wait for the camera flash. 

To change, kick and stretch equal. Bring your knees back together in one line. Left arm down. Then right arm down. Feet together. Forget about what just happened. Be present. Breathe. Your heart is racing. You are alive. 

Benefits: 

Circulation. Before we begin this pose, the circulation is in neutral. In the pose, we push blood very hard and with great force into certain areas of the body while momentarily cutting it off to other parts.

Triming –  the butt and thigh of the kicking leg. 

Opening and toning of the chest, shoulders, and arms.

Modifications: 

Always notify the instructor of pain and or injury so they can assist.

For inflamed sciatic nerves radiating up or down the body, you may need to remain in the set up of the pose. Stop just after you’ve brought the arm up to the chin. Don’t kick. Just stretch up and down. Lift the chest. Expand the low back.

For balance, stand near the wall.

If you cannot grab your foot from the inside, use a strap so you can open that pectoralis muscle and learn to turn the upper arm. Make sure the inside of the elbow faces OUT. Do not grab the outside of the foot, unless there is injury or pain in the shoulder.


Thanks for taking time to read this yogis. I hope you found this information helpful.  I can’t wait until we see each other next time in the hot room.

 

by: Katelynn Ingersoll, hot yoga enthusiast, bonafide posture alignment nerd.

 

Reference:

Choudhury, B., Reynolds, J. (1978). Bikram’s beginning yoga class. New York, New York. Penguin Putnam Inc.

 

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