Posture Profile: Standing Bow
Standing Bow posture, or dandayamana-dhanurasana is among the most dynamic and beautiful yoga postures to behold. In the fullest expression of Standing Bow, also sometimes called dancer’s pose, the legs are in standing splits — or heading in that direction.
Some yogis manage to make it look effortless (hint: they’re using some serious core strength and have a strong foundation in the standing foot) but no matter how light and graceful it appears, this challenging posture is a powerful builder of strength and flexibility, plus a host of other mental, emotional and physical benefits.
Set it up
Setting up a posture correctly is where it all begins. Remember: even if your posture is far from the “ultimate expression”, by properly aligning the body for that posture and setting the intention to get there – or as close as possible – one day, you are already reaping as much benefit for your own body as a yoga championship winner is in theirs.
In Standing Bow, as you lift the leg that is going to kick out, take care to keep the knees and hips in line with each other. Then, kick up and out with the intention of creating more space between the heel and the back of the body.
Standing Bow requires an equality between the force of the kick and the stretch of the arm reaching toward the mirror. Maintaining “50/50 equal, and simultaneous” force between the kick and the arm stretching forward makes it much easier to keep your balance. Synchronize your breath to this action – as you inhale, stretch the arm forward, and as you exhale, power up the kick.
Benefits for mind, body, and spirit
This challenging posture is a supreme builder of patience, determination and concentration. During that first 60-second set it’s common to fall out of the posture — don’t give up! Get back in!
Standing Bow opens up the shoulders and sides, as well as the chest, hamstrings, ribcage, solar plexus and spine. It also firms the abdominal wall and upper thighs, strengthens and sculpts the hips and buttocks, making it a great posture for slimming, toning, strengthening and improving lung capacity.
It is also stimulating to several organs and systems. Bringing the chest parallel to the ground stimulates the cardiovascular system and exercises the heart. The digestive, reproductive, endocrine and urinary systems also benefit and the kidneys get a nice flush.
By twisting and repeating on both sides this transfers blood flow from one side of the body to the other, which has a cleansing and stimulating effect which help keeps blood flowing smoothly.
In Standing Bow the body is in a position of both vulnerability and pride. This “hugely expressive” posture releases emotions and stress stored in the tissues, and is known to help with the release of shame and resolving issues with abandonment, self-worth, and fear of betrayal.
What’s your favorite posture? What postures do you most struggle with? Comment below to let us know which postures you want to see profiled next.