Ākarṇa dhanurāsana

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Akarna Dhanurasana

Akarna Dhanurasana (Sanskrit: आकर्ण धनुरासन; IAST: Ākarṇa Dhanurāsana), also called the Archer pose,[1] Bow and Arrow pose,[2] or Shooting Bow pose[1] is an asana. The posture resembles an archer about to release an arrow.

Etymology and origins[edit]

Ākarṇa Dhanurāsana is from Sanskrit Karṇa, ear with the prefix Ā, towards or near. Dhanura means "bow" and asana means "pose". The name alludes to a myth in the Ramayana in which the infant Sita is able to lift Shiva's enormous bow, and when she reaches marriageable age, only Rama is able to wield it, and so become her husband.[3]

The pose is shown as Dhanurāsana in the 19th century Sritattvanidhi.[4]


This asana involves pulling the foot towards the ear. To achieve this asana, the practitioner begins in:

  1. Dandasana the foundation for all seated asanas.
  2. Grabs hold of each big toes between the thumb and index finger (known as the sixth variant of the Paschimottanasana).
  3. Exhales, keeping the right leg in full contact with the floor and pull the left foot up towards the ear, bending the knee.
  4. Holds the position up to 20 seconds breathing normally. Next exhales and straightens the left leg.
  5. Pulls the foot to a vertical position and holding it statically for 15 seconds.
  6. Bends the knee returning to stage 4.
  7. Returns the left leg to the floor
  8. Repeats on the other side.

Since this asana require both strength and flexibility,[5] it is possible to prepare for it by performing a sequence consisting of asanas that promote general flexibility, such as:

The following hip openers specifically promote the flexibility of the hips:


This asana improves flexibility of the leg muscles. Abdominal muscles and the lower spine are also strengthened.[6]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Iyengar, B. K. S. (1 October 1977). Illustrated Light On Yoga. Schocken. ISBN 0-8052-1031-8. Retrieved 29 October 2012.


  1. ^ a b "Akarm Dhanurasana – Archer Pose, The shooting bow pose". Yogaasan. 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  2. ^ Thomas, Dr. Tommijean; B.S., Benjamin A. Thomas (2008). Iyengar Yoga the Integrated and Holistic Path to Health: The Effective and Scientifically Investigated System of Yoga. Xlibris. p. 499. ISBN 978-1-4628-4365-7.
  3. ^ Newell, Zo. "The Mythology Behind Akarna Dhanurasana (Shooting Bow Pose)". Yoga International. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  4. ^ Sjoman, Norman E. (1999) [1996]. The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace (2nd ed.). Abhinav Publications. p. 109. ISBN 81-7017-389-2.
  5. ^ Schumacher, John (November 2010). "Take Aim". Yoga Journal.
  6. ^ Menuhin, Yehudi; Iyengar, B. K. S. (1979). Light on yoga: yoga dipika. New York: Schocken Books. pp. 177–9. ISBN 0-8052-1031-8.

External links[edit]