Akarna Dhanurasana - The Pose Of The Archer
Akarna Dhanurasana pose, or the Archer pose, is the pose that depicts an archer ready to release his bow. It is great for dancers and athletes who need strong arms and legs and a fair amount of flexibility to move.
Nowadays, with such a tough life, so many pressures, it is important to strengthen your radiance or inner light. It is said that it is your radiant body that attracts opportunity and has the power to affect those who surround you. Archer pose yoga builds up your radiant body, developing positive thoughts and an ocean of inner power within.
Archer Pose – What and How
The name, Akarna Dhanurasana, comes from the Sanskrit ‘a’ (toward or near), ‘karna’ (ear), and ‘dhanu’ (bow). This pose can be quite challenging to the strength, balance and flexibility of the body.
It is also called the Archer Pose because when you look at a person doing this pose, you will be reminded of an archer taking aim. Just like archery requires both strength and flexibility, to practice this asana you need to develop your strength and flexibility.
To understand Akarna DHanurasana procedure, you need to understand what it reflects. Here archery is actually a spiritual practice; what you chant is the bow, your senses are the string. When you pull the string back, you withdraw your senses from the senses and enter into meditation, redirecting your energy from the external to self- consciousness.
Steps to do Akarna Dhanurasana
An important aspect you need to know before you start practising any yoga pose is a tranquil mind and self-realisation. Once you achieve this state of mind, you will be able to practice with less effort. Align your body to support the pose, relax your sense organs and breathe easy. Now you are ready to begin.
Start with Baddha Konasana or the Bound Angle Pose. In this, you have to sit, bringing the soles of your feet together. Support your hips with your hands as you slightly lift your buttocks and bring them back to the floor. Wrapping your hands around your toes, move your shoulder blades close to the spine. Inhale deeply, feeling the breath going into the sides of your chest. Now exhale fully, feeling the breath down to the pelvis area. Now, taking a few more breaths, tilt your torso and pelvis slightly forward, focusing on the release of your inner legs or groin area.
Lift up your outer knees with the support of your hands, stretching your legs in front simultaneously. Bend your left leg, holding on to the outer edge of the foot with your left hand. Raise your left foot to the height of your armpit and press both hands against the foot to bring your left leg into a rhythm of movement, back and forth at least 10-15 times. This pumping move is to bring the thigh bone into its hip socket and release the stiffness around the leg and hip. Now change legs and repeat the same procedure with your right leg.
Take the position of Dandasana again, stretching your legs out in front of you. Breathe in, raise both arms and hook the thumbs lifting the torso. Let the lift be felt in your trunk. Now reach towards the legs and grip your big toes; breathe and stretch your legs. Pressing the backs of your legs down, lift your arms towards the ceiling, feeling the stretch in your inner arms. Bend your torso forward, stretching the spine as you pull it toward the back of your body. Open up your chest by spreading your collar bones and look straight in front as if focusing on a target and hold this pose for 3-6 breaths.
Raise the left foot, bending the knee and elbow backwards as if aiming the bow. Maintain your body weight on your buttocks. Feel the pull of the lift of your left futon the fingers of your right hand. Bend the right side of your torso towards your right foot, moving the left part to move as if in an open twist, the buttocks staying down balancing the weight.
Focus straight in front, accepting the archer within aiming at the target. Inhale and then, while exhaling, lift your left foot up towards your ear. Open your torso to the left, pulling back your left knee and elbow- balance on both buttocks, stretching your inner right leg toward your right big toe. You will feel the maximum tense between your big toes. Look straight ahead and hold this pose for 15-30 seconds. Now lower your left leg, slowly stretching it forward it is placed on the floor beside your right leg. Go back to step 3 and repeat on the right side. Finally, close the exercise by doing Dandasana.
Akarna Dhanurasana – Benefits of the Bow Pose
Akarna Dhanurasana is very effective in enhancing core strength and seat balance. Practising this pose regularly adds a certain grace to your walk and gives your body an athletic build. Avoid this pose in case of hamstring injuries because the archer pose stretches the hamstrings. There are various other major benefits of this pose too.
- Your legs and arms get stronger – Akarna Dhanurasana strengthens the legs and arms. Action of pulling the bow stretches the legs and arms, increasing blood flow and making them strong, elbows and shoulders included.
- Shapes the Abs – As you hold the archer’s pose, your abdominal organs are stimulated. That helps burn fat and improve digestion.
- Increases the flexibility of the hips and spine – When you sit on the floor, your left leg raised against gravity, your spine in a straight line, the spinal muscles expand, opening the hips.
- Blood circulates faster – With the opening of the chest, the heart’s efficiency increases, as does the blood flow to various parts, freeing the circulatory system.
- Improves focus – Akarna Dhanurasana is a difficult pose. It requires a lot of concentration and mindfulness because you have to balance the body and hold the pose. This enhances the concentration of the brain.
Standing Archer Pose and Variations of Akarna Dhanurasana
Standing Archer Pose expands the energy and self, opening up the psychic channels as we studied earlier. It is said to be a part of Kundalini Yoga, working on all the chakras of the Kundalini Chakra System. To perform this pose, you need to stand in a warrior pose, extending your right hand forward and parallel to the right knee. Your left arm has to be pulled back towards the left shoulder, just like an archer’s stance while taking aim.
Baddha Akarna Dhanurasana – Since baddha means bound, in this pose, both your hands are bound to the back stretched leg to make it possible to lift with the support of the hands.
Akarna Dhanurasana II – Sit in dandasana, placing the left foot on the right thigh. Hold the left big toe with the right hand and the right big toe with the left hand. Lift the left foot with your right hand up to the right ear. Switch the legs and repeat.
Akarna Dhanurasana advanced variation – Sit in dandasana, lifting the left leg and placing it behind the neck. Hold the leg with the left hand and then switch the hands, hold the left foot with the right hand. Turning right, stretch the left arm and hold the right toes. Do the same with the left toes. Then release and repeat switching the legs.
Benefits of a bow pose (Dhanurasana)
Dhanurasana has been named after the bow shape of the body. The bow pose stretches the body and keeps you flexible. Simple steps of practising Dhanurasana:
- Lie on your stomach, feet apart, arms on the sides.
- Take back your hands and hold the ankles.
- Inhale and lift your chest off the ground. Pull your legs towards the back.
- Hold on to this pose and breathe. Your body resembles a bow.
- Relax and bend only as much as your body can sustain.
- After 15-20 seconds, exhale and bring your body back to the original position on the ground.
Regular practice of Akarna Dhanurasana will make you the master of the archer pose and instil self-esteem in you. It liberates your energies and builds your confidence. If you find it hard to make decisions or are disappointed in small issues, the archer pose yoga is the ideal practice to include in your daily exercise schedule. It increases mindfulness, making you more determined and focused, with a greater strength of mind. You become an individual of strong character and willpower, getting better both physically and mentally.
Akarna Dhanurasana largely benefits people with bad posture, writer’s cramp, stiff shoulders and spondylitis.