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Standing bow pulling pose (Dandayamana Dhanurasana) is a posture that requires balance, strength, flexibility and concentration. One particular challenge is keeping the correct alignment throughout the posture. A student recently asked about this, saying the hip of her kicking leg tends to go up, instead of staying level.

In order to keep the hips level you have to be aware of each part of the posture, and remember — standing bow is a back bend! These five steps will help keep you on track.

  1. Begin square to the mirror, with your right hand clasping your right ankle from the inside and left arm straight up, palm forward.
  2. As you kick back your body naturally tilts forward. There should be a twist in the upper body, with your two shoulders coming in to one line as you look in the mirror.
  3. Kick into the hand until you can see your foot in the mirror at the centre of your head.
  4. Keep the hips level to the ground. You will find that most people who have a good standing bow can not extend the leg fully. To achieve this you let your hip turn slightly out. This will depend on the  structure of the skeletal system and your range of motion.
  5. Keeping the hips level is a challenge even for me. You have to be persistent, patient and have compassion. Some days can be amazing and other days you wonder why you even bothered!
This is the yoga practice, observing yourself and not letting the ego take over.

Standing bow pulling pose benefits:

  • Develops concentration, patience, and determination.
  • Transfers circulation from one side of the body to the other, bringing fresh blood to each internal organ and gland, keeping them healthy.
  • Firms abdominal wall and upper thighs.
  • Tightens upper arms, hips, and buttocks.
  • Increases the size and elasticity of the rib cage and the lungs.
  • Improves the flexibility and strength of the lower spine.

Questions? Ask in the comments or Tweet @YogaWithPaul