Standing Half Bow Pose, Utthita Ardha Dhanurasana: Yoga Poses for Balance
Utthita Ardha Dhanurasana – this standing balance backbend enhances the elasticity of the spine while toning the abdominal organs and strengthening legs. The balance aspect is a reminder that strength and grace are possible at the same time.
1. Stand in mountain pose. Inhale deeply onto the full length of your body. Gradually transfer your weight on to the left foot, and take your right foot back to place the big toe on the floor behind you. With hands on hips, lift out of your lower back and arch your back into a long bend.
2. Bend the right knee and lift the heel high in the air. Stay in this backbend for a few breaths to strengthen the back muscles.
3. Bring the heel toward the right buttock, reach back with the right hand, and grasp the outer ankle with the right hand. Press the right foot back while you pull the ankle forward with your right hand to create as big an arch in your ‘bow’ as possible. Lift the right leg backward to bring the thigh more parallel to the floor and your shin more vertical, sole of the foot facing upward. Press you’re right hip and right side ribs forward to square your torso to the front.
4. Bend the supporting leg and lean forward as you raise the left arm parallel to the floor, palm facing up. Bring the tips of the index finger and thumb together. With eyes soft, gaze at the point of union between finger and thumb. Breath smoothly and evenly, balancing with ease and grace on the left leg as the right foot continues to push backward and upward. Focus on allowing the curve of the spine to flow up behind the heart has you push the chest open and keep the shoulders even.
5. Release the right foot as you exhale. Return to stand evenly in mountain pose. Repeat on the other side.
- Restful Deep Forward Fold
- Single Leg Forward Bend
- Do not go to the final stage
- Practice near a wall for balance
Standing Half Bow Pose, Utthita Ardha Dhanurasana Counter Poses
In yoga we use a counter pose in a sequence; For example, a twist follows a backbend to “neutralize” the spine, or a forward bend follows a backbend to help lengthen the spine and calm the nervous system.