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Yoga Basics: your guide to the practice of yoga
Backbending Poses arrow Half Bow
ardha dhanurasana
Level of Difficutly: Beginner
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Instructions

1. Lie on your belly, with the legs together or a few inches apart. Bring the chin to the floor and slide the right arm along the floor, over your head with the palm facing down.

2. Bend the left knee and reach the left hand back to hold onto the left heel or ankle.

3. Inhale and kick the left foot into the arm to lift the left leg, head and chest off of the floor. Keep the neck in line with the spine, looking down at the floor. Lift the right arm off of the floor, keeping it parallel to the floor.

4. Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.

5. To release: slowly exhale and lower the leg, arm, head and chest down to the floor.

6. Repeat on other side.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Half bow energizes and strengthens the entire body, and especially builds core body strength. Half bow stimulates the kidneys, adrenals and reproductive system.

Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the legs, hips, neck or arms; pregnancy, recent abdominal surgery.

Modifications + Variations

Modifications: Use a yoga strap looped around the foot and held with one hand.

Variations: Half Bow pose is an easier variation to full Bow.

Vinyasa

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Cobra, Locust.

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose: Croccodile, Bow, Snake.