Bow pose, or dhanurasana, named after the bow of an archer, can be an intense backbend and heart-opening pose. It’s a beautiful pose that counteracts all the sitting hunched forward that we do, but it definitely requires some practice (and warming up!). Can you modify it? You bet!


Stretches the front body, and strengthens all the muscles in the back. Improves flexibility, posture, and stimulates digestion. Relieves stress, fatigue, and anxiety. Opens your heart and chest. 

How to:

  1. Start by lying down on your belly. 
  2. Bend your knees and bring your heels as close as you can to your buttocks. 
  3. Reach back with your hands and grab hold of your ankles. There is some back and forth about whether it’s better to grab hold of the inside or outside of your ankles, but you need to feel around to see what feels best for your body.
  4. Make sure to keep your knees no more than hip distance apart. They will want to splay out as you begin to lift, so try to keep engaged through your thighs to prevent them from opening. 
  5. As you breathe, engage your core and lift your thighs from the floor while at the same time lifting your head and chest off the mat. As you continue lifting higher, engage through your back and press your shoulder blades back, opening your heart. 
  6. Be mindful about your shoulders and try to keep them away from your ears. 
  7. Try to keep your gaze forward and don’t forget to breathe! 

Modify it:

Stay on your belly, keep your arms in a cactus position and then lift your legs and chest at the same time, keeping feet and legs together and squeezing elbows towards each other behind you. Bend your knees if and when you feel ready for it.