Bow Pose seems simple enough, you lie on your belly and reach back for your feet. It’s one of those poses that kids will do on their own accord just because it's silly and feels good.
For yogis however, it’s easy to make alignment mistakes in this pose, some which can even lead to injury. Finding proper alignment in this pose is vital for you to reap all of the wonderful benefits that it has to offer.
Here are some common misalignments in Bow Pose and how to fix them:
1. Incorrect Grip
Many people getting into Bow just want to make contact with their feet or ankles without being mindful of their grip. The correct grip is on the ankles, not the tops of the feet.
If it’s hard for you to reach your ankles, there are a couple of things you can try. One is to use a strap to loop around your ankles. Grip the strap from the outside, so the arms are in the same position as if they were holding the outside of the ankles. This will help to create the resistance needed to lift your torso off the ground and help build up the flexibility to reach the ankles.
Another option is to place a rolled up mat or blanket under the hips. This will provide a little lift that can make the ankles more easily accessible.
2. Knees Splayed Out Wide
As the thighs rise off the mat, many of us have the tendency for our knees to open out to the sides. Ideally, the knees should remain hip distance apart in this pose.
If you’re struggling to keep them in line, one idea is to place a block between the knees. Having to squeeze the block to keep it in place ensures that the knees are pulling in towards one another. After your body learns to make this squeezing action, it will be much easier to take the block away.
3. Holding Tension in the Lower Back
Bow Pose is a backbend, and therefore requires that the back has been properly warmed up so as not to cause injury. It is easy to tweak the lower back in this pose by gripping that area. The strength in this pose should come from the legs, arms, and the whole back.
Think about the legs and arms pulling equally on each other to lift the body up, rather than the back straining to bend. Make a conscious effort to relax the lower back and engage the middle and upper back. It is also important to actively push the tailbone down towards the floor, as this will also help protect the lower back.
When you get everything right in this pose, you’ll be thrilled with how good it makes you feel. Bow can help aid digestion, relieve stress, and improve flexibility and strength. It’s a great pose to incorporate into your home practice if you want to have an all over body stretch!
Do you have any alignment tips for Bow Pose? Share them with us below!