Backward Bends


Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)

Upward Bow Pose
Level: Intermediate

Urdhva = Upward. Dhanu = a bow.

Organizing the Pose


  1. Lie flat on the back.
  2. Bend the legs and plant the feet flat on the floor hip width apart, with the heels close to the buttocks.
  3. Bend the elbows and bring the hands under the shoulders with the fingertips pointing towards the feet.
  4. Exhale, press the palms and feet down and lift up to the top of the head.
  5. Lift the head up slightly and move it back underneath you more.
  6. Exhale and straighten the arms and legs, lifting the hips and chest straight up to the ceiling.
  7. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds.
  8. Exhale and release, returning to the floor.
  9. Extend the legs and rest for a few breaths.

Practice Points


  • Soften and widen the buttocks and find strength in the inner thighs.
  • Lengthen the tailbone towards the knees.
  • Narrow and lift the sides of the waist, lengthening them towards the head.
  • Soften and widen the back ribs and roll them towards the ceiling.
  • Soften and widen the shoulder blades and reach through the armpits.
  • Reach the thighs towards the knees and roll the sternum towards the head.
  • Soften and widen the back of the neck.

Upward Bow Pose