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Aug 16th

Urdhva Dhanurasana – Upward Facing Bow/Full Wheel Pose

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Urdhva Dhanurasana (OORD-vah don-your-AHS-anna)
Pictured Yoga Instructor Jacob Ellis

Full wheel pose take strength and length as you lift into the full expression. Once there, this pose can increase energy as it fully allows the heart center to be open as you lift to the sky. This pose does require a deep back bending so the body should be warm and many other gently prep poses such as bridge should be performed before coming to the full expression of wheel. 

Benefits (from yogajournal.com)

Stretches the chest and lungs

Strengthens the arms and wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen, and spine

Stimulates the thyroid and pituitary

Increases energy and counteracts depression

Therapeutic for asthma, back pain, infertility, and osteoporosis

Directions

1. Lie supine on the floor bending your knees with feet on the floor, heels as close to the sitting bones as possible.

2. Bend your elbows and spread your palms on the floor beside your head, forearms relatively perpendicular to the floor, fingers pointing toward your shoulders (chaturanga arms).

3. Pressing your inner feet actively into the floor, exhale and push your tailbone up toward the pubis, firming (but not hardening) the buttocks, and lift the buttocks off the floor. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. Take 2 or 3 breaths.

4. Then firmly press the inner hands into the floor and your shoulder blades against the back and lift up onto the crown of your head. Keep your arms parallel. Take 2 or 3 breaths.

5. For the full expression, press feet and hands into the floor, tailbone and shoulder blades against your back, and with an exhalation, lift the head off the floor and straighten the arms.

6. Turn the upper arms outward but keep the weight on the bases of the index fingers. Spread the shoulder blades across the back and let the head hang, or lift it slightly to look down at the floor.

7. Stay as long as comfortable, then gently tuck the chin and slowly lower down.

Variations

Alternate lifting each leg

Straighten legs

Advanced students can lower to forearms

Modifications

Support either your hands or feet on a pair of blocks to help yourself realize the full backbend. (Brace the blocks against a wall and/or cover them with a sticky mat to keep the hands or feet from slipping.)

Loop and secure a strap around your thighs, just above the knees, to hold the thighs at hip width and parallel to each other.

Increase backbend by walking feet to hands

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