Standing Bow Pose
Like camel posture (which will get to later), Standing Bow Pose or Dandayamana-Dhanurasana seems to exist on the extremes of Bikram practitioners: for some being their most desired posture and for others being their most despised. Whether you love it or hate it, this posture is a very comprehensive posture, improving the flexibility and strength of most of the body’s muscles. It also exemplifies perfectly the “tourniquet” effect of Bikram yoga, transferring circulation from one side of the body to the other and then equalizing the flow.
Start by balancing on the left leg. Raise the right hand up and point the palm out, picking up the right foot from the inside, two inches below the toe. Raise the left arm up by the left ear and keep the left leg absolutely straight with the thigh muscle tight. Make sure to lock the standing leg throughout the entire posture. With the hips squared forward, start to kick the right leg back. Do not lose the grip of the right foot with the right hand. Toes are pointed. Hips face forward. Right knee points toward the floor. Keep kicking, and start to pivot the upper body forward, aiming to get the abdomen parallel to the floor. Maintain balance by kicking harder and stretching the front arm up and forward. Kicking is the object of stretching. Keep the bow shape by arching the head and spine back. Move the right shoulder back as the right leg kicks higher and stretch the left shoulder forward. Eventually two shoulders will stretch into one line. Keep your focus steady on one point in front of you. Do not look down. Keep breathing. You can balance forever! Repeat left side.
Standing Bow creates a “tourniquet” effect in the body by transferring circulation from one side of the body to the other and then back again, bringing freshly oxygenated blood to every internal organ and gland. Balance improves, as well as, flexibility and strength of the lower spine. The upper thighs, butt, hip, abdominals and upper arms strengthen and firm from all the pulling and stretching. Standing Bow builds patience, determination and concentration. Not so bad for a minute!
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