Half Bow

ardha dhanurasana

Pronunciation: (ARE-dah - don-your-AHS-anah)

Level: Beginner


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 right knee and reach the left hand back to hold onto the right heel or ankle (opposite hand to foot).

3. Inhale and kick the right foot into the arm to lift the right leg, head and chest off of the floor. Keep the neck in line with the spine and look up at the forehead.

4. Press down into the right arm for support, or lift the right arm off of the floor, keeping it parallel to the floor.

5. Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.

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

7. 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: Reach both hands back to hold onto the raised foot/ankle for a deeper backbend.


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.

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Comments 3

  1. I struggle with full bow and appreciate these instructions. Thank you. The pictures are helpful too, but they do not match the instructions. The yogi is grabbing opposite foot and hand, the instructions suggest same foot and hand. Namaste’

    1. Timothy Burgin Post

      Hi Robin, thanks for letting us know of the mistake. I’ve updated the page so that they match the photos and I also updated the instructions.

  2. Searching for easy reference sheet for students that will be working with this pose. Really like this explanation and will use this site more often.

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