Dhanurasana – Variations

Variation 1

This method is essentially the same as the basic technique already described, but with one notable difference: the breathing is deep and slow in the final pose. The technique is as follows: Do all the actions described for the basic technique as far as raising the body into the final position. Instead of holding the breath, breathe slowly and deeply. Try to accentuate the rhythmical expansion and contraction of the abdomen with the breathing. Stay in the final pose for as long as possible without strain.

Then return to the ground. This method is a little more difficult, but it gives an accentuated massage to the abdominal organs.

Variation 2 – for beginners

The following is a simplified version of dhanurasana. It is called saral dhanurasana (easy bow pose). It gives basically the same benefits as other forms but at a slightly reduced level. It is a good asana and is ideally suitable for beginners and for people who cannot do the other forms of dhanurasana.

The technique is as follows: Take the starting position described for the basic technique. Place both the knees and feet together. Relax the whole body. Breathe out deeply. Breathe in deeply. Tense the leg muscles and bend the feet backwards towards the head as far as possible. Keep the knees and the thighs on the ground throughout the entire practice; don’t raise them. Try to raise the head and chest as high as possible off the ground, using only the leverage of the legs. Let the back muscles remain passive. This is the final position. In the final pose, the breath can either be held or can be deep and slow. That is, the breathing can be as given for the basic technique or for variation 1. Choose that which you like best. Stay in the final pose for a comfortable length of time. Then slowly lower the head and the chest to the ground by relaxing the leg muscles. Repeat the practice when the breathing has returned to normal.

Variation 3 – rocking

While in the final pose one can rock to and fro on the abdomen. This increases the massage of the inner organs. To initiate this rocking movement it will be necessary to both:

1. Alternately tense and relax the leg muscles slightly,

2. Breathe in and out.

Both of these actions change the position of the centre of gravity and induce a forward and backward movement. At first the movement will be slight, but it will increase as the body gains momentum. When in full motion, the chin will nearly touch the floor at one extreme and the thighs will touch the floor at the other extreme. Needless to say, the back must be tensed during this variation.

Do as many rocking movements as you can without excessive strain. Men should be careful not to injure themselves by compressing or squashing their testicles. Beginners will probably find it easier to separate the knees while rocking to and fro. This rocking motion cannot be done in variation 2 – saral dhanurasana.

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