What is Urdhva Dhanurasana?
This is a key backbend in the Iyengar tradition. Its name means upward bow. Regular practice of this asana keeps the body supple and brings a feeling of lightness and vitality. The adrenal glands are stimulated, which is said to strengthen one’s willpower and increase capacity to withstand stresses.
The pose is initially learnt from the floor (or chair), pushing up against gravity. Later on, it can be learnt as a dropback from Tadasana.
When to use Urdhva Dhanurasana?
This pose comes well after the body has been prepared with other asanas, such as a few standing postures and some preparatory backbends.
It is useful as a means of lifting one’s mood if feeling depressed or sluggish. Like all backbends, it brings courage and vitality.
If lifting from the floor is challenging for the shoulders, try using bricks under the hands for extra lift. Bricks are placed at the wall, and can be used flat, medium or tall height.