The Bow is a backward bending exercise which raises both halves of the body at the same time. When the Bow is performed, the body is bent to give the appearance of a bow. The streched (straight) arms resemble the bowstring. This asana gives the combined effect of the Cobra and the Locust poses. These three exercises should be practiced together, forming a valuable set of backward bending exercises. The Bow acts as a counterpose to Halasan and Paschimotanasan.
Coming into the position:
- Lying on the abdomen, bring the forehead to the floor. Bend the knees and catch hold of the ankles. The knees may be allowed to separate.
- Inhale raising the head, chest and thighs off the ground as high as possible. Keep the elbows straight and the head back. The whole body will be resting on the abdomen. Try to straighten the knees as much as possible. This will have the effect of bringing the legs higher off the ground, giving a complete arch to the back. The chest will be opened and streched backwards.
Hold the position for at least 3 deep breaths. Come down and repeat the exercise 3-5 times. On the last one try to do the rocking bow.
To come out: lower the head, chest and thighs to the ground. Release the ankles; lower the legs to the ground. Turn the head to the side and rest the cheek on the hands.
Benefits of the Bow
- It works on the entire spine. Flexibility is brought to all regions: cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral.
- All the internal organs, especially the digestive organs are massaged and invigorated. The large and small intestine as well as the liver and spleen are benefited. Fat is removed. The Bow relieves congestion of blood in the abdominal viscera and tones them.
- Aids chronic constipation, dyspepsia, the sluggishness of the liver and gastro-intestinal disorders.
- It is specially recommended for people with diabetes, as it helps to regulate the pancreas
- The abdominal muscles are strengthened
- Women specially benefit from the Bow
- The thoracic region is expanded, a boon to persons suffering from respiratory problems such as asthma.
- It helps hunchback, rheumatism of the legs, knee-joints and hands
- The Bow gives a deep massage to the back muscles
- It keeps the spine elastic
- Ossification of the bones is prevented
- Gives energy, vigour and vitality
This asana should not be practiced by pregnant women.