ETYMOLOGY: DHANURASANA is named the pose of the arch because it makes the body look like a tensed bow.
HOW TO PERFORM THIS ASANA
Lie on the floor, face down.
Lift your chin while you hold the ankles with your hands. Arch your back. If you cannot hold both your ankles at the same time, hold one, and then the other. It is possible that in the beginning your knees will be raised from the floor only to a small extent, and costing you pain in the muscles of the thighs.
However, through perseverance you will be able to raise your knees even higher than your chin. In this case, the pubic area no longer touches the floor, and the weight of the body rests on the area placed between navel and sternum.
After this, you may embark on the dynamic phase of this asana, which implies tossing your body like a boat on the sea. In the beginning, this balancing of the body involves the abdominal area only, and while it gains in amplitude, it will involve the chest and thighs as well.
While performing this asana, the only moving element is the feet.
In order to begin the dynamic phase, you must push your feet to the front and upward, by contracting your thighs and calves.
The arms are passive, just like the spring of a bow. They are perfectly stretches and their only role is to ‘tie’ together the shoulders and the ankles. The contraction of the muscles of the back makes this asana impossible to practice.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU PERFORM THIS ASANA
This depends on the person.
Usually, four up to twelve balances should be enough. In the beginning, you may even split the times to perform the balances into two or three parts.
After each time, lie on the floor, face down, in order to relax.
While performing the dynamic phase, you may breathe in one of the three following manners:
1. Breathe in when your head goes up and breathe out when the head goes down.
2. Breathe normally all the while you perform it.
3. Retain your breath while performing the dynamic phase of the asana. This indication is valid for advanced practitioners.
Perceive the activation of Manipura chakra.
Perceive the flows of energy through the legs and arms, activating the upper part of the trunk.
When coming out of the asana, perceive the activation of Manipura chakra and to a smaller degree of Anahata chakra. The feet are full of energy. Inner state of dynamism.
As DHANURASANA includes the Cobra pose (BHUJANGHASANA) and the grasshopper pose, it cumulates the beneficialial effects of the two asanas as well.
- To these is added the intra-abdominal pressure that has a tonic effect on the internal organs. It compresses the dorsal side of the spine, in the same time with the stretching of the anterior side of it.
- This asana prevents the premature calcification of the vertebral joints and it acts on the ligaments, muscles, and nervous centres placed along the spine.
- The stimulation of the nervous centres of the spine (and mainly of the sympathetic nervous system) induces a state of euphoria in the practitioner.
- The massage of the solar plexus reduces the anxiety.
- The acceleration of the breath, the decongestion of the solar plexus, the activation of the digestive system, the improvement of the blood flow in the cellulite or fat tissues, through a profound massage – all these are factors which make this asana a valuable help in the fight against cellulite.
- It also acts on the suprarenal glands. It increases the level of adrenaline, within the accepted limits. The secretion of cortisone becomes regular, which controls certain forms of rheumatism.
- This asana has a therapeutic effect on the thyroid.
- It acts efficiently on the digestive system, as well as on the annex glands. The blood flow in the digestive system becomes substantially better.
- It eliminates constipation, the kidneys benefit of an increased quantity of blood, which has as immediate effect a more efficient elimination of toxins.