10 Key Poses for Women’s Health- Bow Pose

A healing practice that tonifies the stomach meridian and strengthens the kidneys.

Bow Pose (Dhanurasana): This is a great pose to start working on around 10 days before menstruation. This pose is so called because it looks like an archer’s bow, the torso and legs representing the body of the bow, and the arms the string.

Healing benefits: It strengthens and tones the pelvic organs, and at the same time massages the central digestive organs. It also opens the stomach meridian and strengthens the kidneys. Weak kidneys are normally associated with several PMS (premenstrual) symptoms like low back pain and cramps.

Practice instructions: Lie on your belly with your hands alongside your torso, palms up. Exhale and bend your knees, bringing your heels as close as you can to your buttocks. Reach back with your hands and take hold of your ankles. Make sure your knees aren’t wider than the width of your hips, and keep your knees hip width for the duration of the pose.

Inhale and strongly lift your heels away from your buttocks and, at the same time, lift your thighs away from the floor. This will have the effect of pulling your upper torso and head off the floor. Burrow the tailbone down toward the floor, and keep your back muscles soft. As you continue lifting the heels and thighs higher, press your shoulder blades firmly against your back to open your heart. Draw the tops of the shoulders away from your ears. Align your neck and look forward.

Stay in this pose anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds. Release as you exhale, and lie quietly for a few breaths. You can repeat the pose once or twice more. Enjoy your practice!