Posture Clinic- Standing Bow

After an inspiring weekend of watching competitors with next to perfect standing bows at the International Bishnu Ghosh Cup Hatha Yoga Championships, OMB gives you a breakdown of the pose.

Standing Bow Pulling Pose

Dandyamana Dhanurasana

2009 US Champion Courtney Mace in Standing Bow photo: USA Yoga


Contraction of

  • Quadriceps
  • Gulteus Maximus

Extension of

  • Shoulders -Trapezius / Latisimus Dorsi
  • Groin – Sartorius / Hamstrings
  • Chest – Pectorals / Diaphram / Ribcage


  • Kidneys
  • Spine


  • Circulatory System
  • Digestive System
  • Reproductive System
  • Urinary System
  • Endocrine System
  • Heart


  • Creates natural irrigation of the circulatory system – transfers blood flow from one side of the body to the other
  • Clears plaque off artery walls
  • Helps to stimulate circulation through out the body
  • Eases back pain through compression of the spine
  • Improves elasticity of the spine
  • Tones hips and buttocks
  • Trims and strengthens the thighs
  • Strengthens the ankles and knees
  • Opens the shoulder joints, helps with frozen shoulder
  • Helps alleviate carpal tunnel, arthritis, tennis elbow
  • Helps with cervical spondylosis
  • Good for prenatal recovery
  • Stretches diaphragm and ribcage improving respiration (breathing)
  • Flushes kidneys, bladder and urinary system
  • Alleviates gas, constipation and clears digestion
  • Improves balance

Energetic Benefits

  • releases shame, abandonment
  • resolves issues of self-worth, fear of betrayal
  • develops determination, patience

Posture Tips

Be sure to start with the knees touching together to ensure balance.

Keep your weight toward the front of your foot, watch that the weight does not move into the heel as you initiate your kick

Always remember that, “kicking and stretching are 50/50, equal, simultaneous.” When you increase the force of your kick you must also increase the energy of the arm stretching toward the mirror to maintain your balance.

Just as in standing head-to-knee, the standing leg is your foundation, keep the knee locked with a firm contraction of thigh.

Bikram’s dialogue says to touch the shoulder to the chin, not chin to the shoulder. Keep your chin lifted and extend the arm forward to bring the shoulder and chin together, helping to promote the proper alignment of the shoulders.

BREATHE, try to take a few focused deep breaths in the pose.

On the inhales, harness your energy and stretch the arm forward, on your exhale deploy that energy into your kick.

OMB is going to teach, posture tips from the pros to come tonight!


Filed under About Bikram Yoga, Benefits, Posture Clinic, Tips and Tricks

8 responses to “Posture Clinic- Standing Bow

  1. Yes! Thank you for pointing out that one needs to reach more forward with their arm when they begin to kick more aggressively!

    It actually makes sense and helps my posture when I execute it this way. My stretching arm often gets far more tired in the pose than the arm that is holding my kicking leg.

  2. M*

    Question – when setting up, do 2 hips need to be in 1 line? [Bring knees together to start part]

    I ask because my 2 hips are NEVER in 1 line thanks to scoliosis, was wondering if I should bring it forward to get 2 hips in 1 line before “CHARGE YOUR BODY FORWARD”

    Also is it compulsory for 2 hips to be in 1 line when you’re attempting the full expression of the posture?

    hmmmm questions!

    • Hi M,

      Bikram, Rajishree and Craig all say to forget about the hips. In the next part of posture clinic, which just went up, Craig says that the hips are just an extension of the form. Basically as the form changes and the body opens, the hips will also become more and more in alignment. In more lectures, Bikram will say “If you pull the ear, you get the head,” essentially showing that by aligning the shoulders, getting the chest down and making sure the two heels are in one line from the side, the hips will open and correct themselves.

      So forget the hips, focus on the shoulders.

      • M*

        THANKS SO MUCH!!

        Ah it all makes sense now. Thank you thank you – all the way from Malaysia! We don’t have the chance to invite Craig over for posture clinics 😦

  3. chona

    i’ve been wanting to perfect this pose ever since, but I always had this problem with my grip, especially when I’m all wet and sweaty. Yes, I can kick my leg, but it will fall out soon because of the grip. Any tips on how I can improve my grip?? Would appreciate any response, actually, it’s badly needed 😀 thanks thanks!!

    • Hi Chona,

      Physically, there is nothing to say but that the grip will come with time as you develop your strength. However there are a couple of mental tricks that you can do. One is to think “Grip the grip,” this one comes from champion Sarah Baughn who has an incredible practice. The other is to think of Craig Villani’s quote, “Grip like a steel tiger claw.”

      Ultimately it is a matter of strength, concentration and determination, all of which simply come with time.
      Hope that helps, happy bending!


  4. Pingback: Getting my heat fix | Laughing, Living and Loving in London

  5. Pingback: How to do: Standing Bow Pulling Pose | | The Bikram Yoga Community Connection

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