Akarna Dhanurasana, Shooting Bow Pose
Before starting this pose, check which one of your nostrils is active, from which nostril are you breathing more.
When you are sure which one, sit in Dandasana, bend forward with exhalation and grab the big toes of both feet. You put the middle and the index finger in between your big toe and the index toe, wrapping them around the toe. Your thumb should rest on the nail root of your big toe. You can see the exact position on the picture above.
With inhalation bend the knee of your active side and bring the foot closer to your ear by pulling on the toe. The leg of the inactive side should be lying flat on the floor. Hold the posture and your breath and with exhalation slowly place your leg back to the floor.
Repeat the same procedure with the other leg.
The practice of Akarna Dhanurasana strengthens feet, shoulders, thighs, buttocks and calves. Through this it gives a beautiful shape to your legs!
Not only your legs benefit, also your arms, shoulders and chest get stronger with practicing the shooting bow! Your nerves are stimulated and refreshed. This can be especially good for people who work a lot with their hands such as writing or drawing. Also office workers who sit for long periods or tailors who do both, sitting for a long time and working with the hands, can benefit very much from this yoga posture.
Additionally, when you grab your toes in the way explained above, you pressurize certain acupressure points, for example the nerve located on the big toe which is related to your abdomen area.
As you can imagine, this yoga pose is also beneficial for your belly as it contracts and releases the muscles and moves the whole abdomen area. It stimulates digestion so if you have difficulties with constipation and indigestion, this exercises can do wonders for you! Pain in the lower regions of the abdomen and the larger intestines is prevented and relieved.
This is also one of the yoga poses that, if done regularly, can help if you have irregular menstruation.
Last but not least, it opens your chest and gives your lungs room to expand and breathe.
Take care to keep your hips as straight as possible and the knee of the leg that is on the floor should remain straight.
Grab your toes in the way described above to get the full benefit of the posture and feel the stretch when you pull it towards your ear.
If you have spinal injuries you should avoid this yoga pose.