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Urdhva Dhanurasana (Over the Back of the Chair)

A look at how to do Urdhva Dhanurasana (Over the Back of the Chair) in the Iyengar method.

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Over the Back of the Chair)

What is Urdhva Dhanurasana (Over the Back of the Chair)?

There are two useful preparations over the backrest of the chair for Urdhva Dhanurasana:

1) Chair seat facing towards the wall. Hook the elbows under the backrest of the chair, place dorsal spine onto chair back (with an 8-folded sticky mat in centre of the bar), and arch back over the chair support.

2) Chair seat facing away from the wall. Start sitting on chair and place heels and sole of foot firmly against the chair legs. The heels MUST remain in contact with the chair legs for this preparation: they keep the chair stable. Pressing the hands down lift up and place the dorsal spine on the chair back and 8-fold sticky mat. Arch backwards, coiling over the chair bar and the mat, and take the hands to the wall. Extend the arms and straighten the elbows, walking the hands down the wall.

What is Urdhva Dhanurasana (Over the Back of the Chair)?

These variations would work well after the body has been prepared with other asana, such as a few standing postures and some preparatory backbends. They will further open the chest, and take the back ribs in—leading the practitioner towards Urdhva Dhanurasana, without yet being bodyweight-bearing on the arms.

Like all backbends, these are useful in clearing the mind if feeling depressed or sluggish. They will bring courage and vitality. Students often feel exhilarated and encouraged at what their body is able to do in these preparations.