“Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the isness of the Now. You can’t argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer.” ~~ Eckhart Tolle
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) is definitely a pose I “forget” about more frequently than I care to admit, both in my own personal practice and in the classes I teach. For someone like me who is chronically tight in the hip flexors, quads, chest and shoulders…well, Bow Pose is extremely challenging. Whenever I do spend the time practicing it, I always feel like I bring a lot of emotions to the surface…hmm, maybe that’s why I avoid it many times.
(Photo Courtesy of YogaJournal.com)
Bow Pose is a backbend, and as you can see from the picture above, it’s a pretty deep backbend. Backbending poses are said to be mood lifting. However, to achieve Bow Pose, you must prepare by practicing postures that open up the chest, shoulders, hip flexors and quads — all the places where I tend to hold on to stress and tension. So when I spend a lot of time working on opening these areas, and then open these areas even more by moving into Bow Pose (or some variation of it), I feel like I am overwhelmed by extreme emotions that rise to the surface — both the “feel good”, energizing ones, as well as all the “junk” I let go of when I release the stress and tension in my muscles. I always walk off my mat feeling drained and like I am pretty much useless for the rest of the day, as I feel like I need to contemplate everything I just dredged up. Is it just me, or do others of you out there experience this as well?
This week, we’ll be working on Bow Pose in class. As I mentioned above, it’s great for opening up the chest, shoulders, hip flexors and quads. But it also provides the following additional benefits:
- Mobilizes spine
- Stretch the abdominal muscles and tone the abdominal organs
- Strengthen the gluteus muscles and the hamstrings
- Strengthen low back
- Relieves some forms of low back pain
- Therapeutic for asthma, opening accessory muscles of breathing
If you haven’t practiced this pose a ton, be prepared to experience an opening like you’ve never felt before. And if you notice a lot of emotions hitting you that you didn’t expect, acknowledge everything presenting itself to you. Accept that this is what you’re feeling and where you are RIGHT NOW. You never know what you might learn about yourself, just by taking the time to focus and listen.